• Piper Burge, 6, daughter of Jamie Burge, a heating, ventilation and air conditioner technician contractor on Fort McPherson, receives some instruction on putting from First Tee of Atlanta (First Tee) coach Daniel Harper Feb. 26 on the golfing greens at The Commons at Fort McPherson. The class — the first of five offered by First Tee — teaches life skills and good character through golf to children ages 5 through 17.

    Driving home life lessons with golf

    Piper Burge, 6, daughter of Jamie Burge, a heating, ventilation and air conditioner technician contractor on Fort McPherson, receives some instruction on putting from First Tee of Atlanta (First Tee) coach Daniel Harper Feb. 26 on the golfing greens at...

  • Children cheer after completing their first lesson of golf from First Tee of Atlanta Feb. 26 on the golfing greens at The Commons at Fort McPherson. The class, which teaches golf and life skills, was attended by 29 children.

    Driving home life lessons with golf

    Children cheer after completing their first lesson of golf from First Tee of Atlanta Feb. 26 on the golfing greens at The Commons at Fort McPherson. The class, which teaches golf and life skills, was attended by 29 children.

  • Angelo Hoy Jr., 6, nephew of Staff Sgt. Tara Mason, supply sergeant, U.S. Army Garrison Headquarters and Headquarters Company, receives some instruction on putting from First Tee of Atlanta coach Daniel Harper Feb. 26 at the golfing greens on The Commons at Fort McPherson.

    Driving home life lessons with golf

    Angelo Hoy Jr., 6, nephew of Staff Sgt. Tara Mason, supply sergeant, U.S. Army Garrison Headquarters and Headquarters Company, receives some instruction on putting from First Tee of Atlanta coach Daniel Harper Feb. 26 at the golfing greens on The...

The school week might have been over, but Feb. 26, from 9:30 until 11 a.m., First Tee of Atlanta (First Tee) turned the golfing greens on The Commons at Fort McPherson into a classroom for 29 children seeking to learn more about the sport.

In partnership with the U.S. Army Garrison Directorate of Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation (DFMWR), First Tee held the first session of their five-week program that uses golf as a vehicle to teach children skills, such as confidence, courtesy, good sportsmanship and other positive character qualities they can apply throughout their lives, said Mary Scott, First Tee coach.

One reason golf is a good means to teach these lessons is because it's is a gentleman's sport, Scott said, explaining the game requires learning how to respect others by sharing the course and a great deal of self-discipline.

Tondia Reese, program analyst for the Environmental Protection Agency, said she was glad to see her two children, Jason, 8, and Summer, 5, socializing with the other children in the program. "It was definitely time well spent," she said, adding besides the socialization, the session exposed her kids to a new sporting experience.

"I try to introduce them to different activities to see if they have an interest," said Reese, who said she found out about the program through a DFMWR e-mail message. Jason, who said he already plays baseball, soccer and jiujitsu, said he enjoyed his first exposure to golf. "It's good," he said.

"They teach us good things like how to hold the club and hit the ball." While life skills are the focus of the course, the children will also be exposed to plenty of golf, Scott said. Skills taught will include proper grip, putting and driving skills, and course etiquette. The children will put all those skills together during the final class by actually playing a few holes on the Fort McPherson golf course, she said.

Because lessons build upon one another, it is important for children not to miss lessons, Scott said. Although exceptions will be made for children who missed the first week, children who miss the first two lessons should wait until the next session is offered, she added.

Chris Hawkins, First Tee head coach, said classes will be offered until the base closes, with about a two-week break between classes. Thus, the next class will start in mid-March or early April, Hawkins said. "Hopefully, they'll acquire some learning, develop a desire to play golf, and most importantly, have fun," Hawkins said of the children.

For more information on the First Tee program, visit www.thefirstteeatlanta.org.

Page last updated Fri March 4th, 2011 at 10:58