Hook a Kid on Golf

Michael Smith, director of the Wadsworth Recreation Department, has been involved with the National Alliance For Youth Sports’ Hook A Kid program since he first heard of the program more than 15 years ago. Wadsworth was one of four pilot communities to offer the program in 1991. Smith says he was sold on the idea immediately after hearing about it from a National Youth Sports Coaches Association (NYSCA) state representative.

“We want to be intentional about offering opportunities to learn the lifetime sport of golf, especially for those children who might never really have the chance,” says Smith.

The community of Wadsworth offers the Tee Level Clinic; the Challenge Golf League; and the Start Smart Golf program, a parent-child development program for kids age’s five to seven.

Smith says golf had an impact on him at an early age. “As a young boy I used to sneak around in the woods around the perimeter of a golf course near my home and find golf balls, clean up the good ones and sell them. I would take the ones with slices in them and use antique wood shafted clubs and hit them out into a farm field near my home,” he remembers. “I really would have loved being exposed to the game in a positive way as a young boy like we do with Start Smart, the Tee Level Clinics and the Challenge Leagues.”

Smith and Chris Siesky – a teacher and golf coach at Wadsworth High School who has been involved with the Hook A Kid program since 1992 – promote the program and work with school principals to make sure that “kids who really need the program” get involved.

Smith and Siesky also share the responsibilities of contacting local sponsors to seek funding, sponsorships for kids, and donations of snacks, lunches and other things. Smith coordinates with his staff at the Wadsworth Recreation Department all mailings to kids, sponsors and members of NYSCA. He has produced Hook A Kid TV shows for local cable television, and also assists the Challenge Golf League and Start Smart Golf site coordinators. Smith says it is because of this combined effort – and that of the volunteers and community – that the program has become such an accomplished one.

Sarah Christy and Greg Bach are communications directors for the National Alliance For Youth Sports (NAYS).

If you are interested in the Hook A Kid On Golf program, you can obtain a program manual through the national office by submitting your program manual application accompanied by a $25 fee. The program manual application can be printed from the www.hookakidongolf.org Web site. Visit the site or contact the national office by e-mail at info@hookakidongolf.org or by phone at (561) 684-1141.

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