Youngsters in District 50 to learn the game of golf

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A new program being incorporated in Adams County School District 50’s 12 elementary schools is teaching students the game of golf.

StartingNewAtGolf, SNAG, is a youth learning program that uses age-appropriate equipment to teach children how to play the game. It began as a recreational program in the Hyland Hills Park and Recreation District in 2011, but is now being offered to students for free by employees of the district.

Allen Brown, director of golf for the district, said with the demographics of District 50, golf is a sport that most kids in the district don’t have the opportunity to play because it takes a lot of time and money. With SNAG, golf is now becoming an accessible sport for more students. Brown said not only will the students have the opportunity to learn a new and fun sport, but also learn other skills and lessons.

“I believe golf teaches you honesty and integrity and that leads into character,” he said. “We also believe it is a very good bridge between the intellect and the physical because there is strategy involved, it’s not just a brute force game. It does take power too, so you’ve got to somehow figure out how to combine those things.”

F.M. Day Elementary is the first school to use program, but next fall at least four other schools will take advantage of SNAG.

Jordan Riley, facilities manager of Carroll Butts Athletic Park, is one of the SNAG instructors. Riley teaches with plastic color-coded clubs, balls that resemble a tennis ball and bright-colored targets — all SNAG equipment. The kids attempt to hit the middle of the target practicing their putting, chipping and driving skills.

“We can set different obstacles the kids have to try to go over or around, it’s really neat,” she said. “And when a kid takes a swing and the ball goes where they want it to, it’s just so beautiful. They get excited and so does the group behind them, who are cheering for them.”

The district received the SNAG grant in 2011. The program is a teaching tool for beginners learning how to play golf. The students don’t actually play a round of golf, but use the equipment to learn how to play the game.

“I want to provide a facility for kids that is designed with the proper yardages, greens and hazards,” he said. “A place where kids are playing golf on a course, keeping score and measuring their own progress. Then using that as part of a ladder to get to our other courses.”