Group brings golf to inner city kids

October 7, 2009 7:20:02 PM PDT
First Tee of San Francisco wants to get rid of the notion that golf is only for the well-to-do. Wednesday, the organization opened a new golf facility in one of San Francisco's most underserved communities.

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Paul Azinger and Nick Faldo are among the "who's who" in golf.

Teaching inner city kids the how to will now be easier, thanks to a new driving range, putting green and grass chipping area at Visitation Valley Middle School.

The facility was funded and designed by the First Tee of San Francisco, which helps bring golf to inner city kids.

In 2005, Harding Park became the first golf course in San Francisco used by First Tee.

The new First Tee is open to every underserved student in Visitacion Valley and the Bayview.

Many students will be brought there to practice.

"I'm going to look down at the ball, keep my eye on the ball, I'm going to swing back and I'm going to swing through," Joy Fisher said.

Fisher says golf has introduced her to other challenging activities.

"And they've really reached out to our community and they've really helped us understand that it isn't just for the rich, but for urban communities also," Fisher said.

The inner city kids also discover there are other sports besides basketball and football.

"I think it's a very different sport from basketball and football because golf teaches you patience and just concentration," Nicholas Aronce-Camp said.

Those are only two of the core values the First Tee program teaches.

"Take honestly for example, take integrity, they are a couple that are pretty critical as to whether you are going to have a decent life; take confidence, take perseverance," First Tee President Frank Tatum said.

And, Faldo reminded them, there are a lot fewer injuries when playing golf.

"You could be an old guy like me and still be out there, you know; that's the beauty of golf, you can keep going," Faldo said.

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