FROM the swanky clubhouses to the eye-catching trousers – golf means something different to everyone.
For some it is an escape from reality, a picturesque Saturday morning stroll, while to others, it’s a chance relieve their stress, bashing balls down at the driving range.
For a group of around 60 children in Kwinana, golf has become a life lesson in one of the coolest classrooms they have ever seen.
First Tee Kwinana celebrated its inaugural birthday last week and there was no shortage of people wanting to celebrate.
The program is the first of its kind in Australia, making the move from the US where it has been operating since 1997.
First Tee focuses on teaching nine core values – respect, courtesy, responsibility, honesty, sportsmanship, confidence, judgment, perseverance and integrity.
First Tee chairman Conor Graham said it was heartening to see children learning about golf and important life lessons.
“It’s been very exciting to get through our first year,” he said.
“In some ways it has gone very fast but in other ways it has been a slow process but we’ve managed to pull a lot of juniors from outside the golf club in through schools, community contacts and word of mouth.
“It’s very different to the other golf programs around WA. There are programs like MyGolf but it is specifically about teaching kids about the game of golf, but we look at it from reverse.
“We talk about nine core values and we use golf as the vehicle to try and share that with them. The core values that you need to know out on the golf course in terms of being quiet and respectful and courteous, those are some really great things that you can share with the kids.
“We have equipment, we have games, the coaches are all about making it fun and exciting.”
There are fans of the program beyond the children with Mr Graham telling of primary school teachers taking part in First Tee saying the children have been more focused in class.
He also believes the program has plenty more to offer the Kwinana youngsters.
“Kwinana receives the programs because of our low demographic and our problems in terms of truancy… it was thought to be a perfect match,” he said.
“It’s exciting for me to see the kids down at Kwinana Hub. They see each other and although they go to different schools, they are not afraid to run up and high five their First Tee teammate.”
First Tee is free for the children with Mr Graham citing corporate sponsorship and GolfWA sponsorship as the key to ensuring children can come and learn without parents needing to find the money to ensure their children participate.
Contact First Tee Kwinana on Facebook or Kwinana Golf Club on 9419 2888.