Youth golf program tees off at Wood County course

Photo Provided A young golfer prepares to hit a ball in Wood County.

VIENNA — Beginning in mid-April, youth ages 5 and older will have an opportunity to develop, through golf and character education, values such as honesty, integrity and sportsmanship through The First Tee of West Virginia program, officials said.

“We are extremely excited to be given the opportunity to have our programming available in Wood County,” said Brad Ullman, executive director of the West Virginia Golf Association.

“Minibel Par 3 Golf Course in Vienna will act as the host golf course and will be the perfect location for these junior golfers to be introduced to the game. In addition, Tri-State Roofing & Sheet Metal has been a long-standing partner of the Callaway Junior Tour which was founded in Parkersburg 35 years ago. They are expanding their generosity to now also support The First Tee of West Virginia,” Ullman said.

The life skills experience is one of the features of the nonprofit The First Tee junior golf program. It is used to further enhance and instill the inherent values of the game of golf and teach participants how these values transfer into other aspects of their lives, program officials said.

These lessons for life are learned through a variety of golf-related activities. Participants learn about themselves and others through a range of experiences enhancing their golf skills and fundamental values for life, officials said. “As opportunities on the golf course expand so do the opportunities for the rest of their lives.”

Photo Provided Young golfers practice in Wood County during The First Tee of West Virginia program.

“The primary goal is always to have fun,” said Ashley Hamilton, director of The First Tee of West Virginia. “Our programs help young people build confidence, develop respect and appreciate the value of giving back to our community all while learning the lifelong sport of golf.”

Depending on age, participants will enroll in one of two classes. The Little General Juniors class is for 5- and 6-year-old participants. The class is broken down into six components which are used to spark curiosity in the game of golf, meet new people and have fun. Sessions are 45 minutes in length and will be held on Saturday from 1-1:45 p.m.

The PLAYer class is for all new participants of The First Tee who are a minimum of 7 years old. This level introduces the nine core values and helps to establish the foundation for young people to become lifelong PLAYers of the game of golf, officials said. Sessions are 90 minutes in length and will meet twice a week, Wednesday from 4:30-6 p.m. and Saturday from 2-3:30 p.m.

The first session of programming will begin the week of April 15 and run through the week of May 20. Participants are required to pre-register online for class. General information about the organization along with frequently asked questions can be found at thefirstteewestvirginia.org.

To register click on the “REGISTER” button in the top right corner of the homepage; financial aid can be requested during the online registration process.

Photo Provided The nine core values of The First Tee of West Virginia.

The First Tee of West Virginia is a statewide youth development organization operated by the West Virginia Golf Association, focused on introducing the game of golf and its inherent values to young people.

Photo Provided A group of young golfers who participated in The First Tee of West Virginia in Wood County.

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