The organization TGA — which stand for Teach, Grow, Achieve — runs after-school golf and tennis programs across the country for kids in grades Pre K-8. The program started in 2003 when Joshua Jacobs wanted to teach golf to underprivileged and special needs kids. The program began in Southern California, and is now in 2,600 schools across the country with more than 280,000 kids participating. TGA also offers a similar program for tennis.
Recently, I joined a golf class in Dallas. As a non-golfer, I fit right in with the eight other beginners in his class. We were put in four groups, each going to a different station. Mine went from chipping to long drive to putting to agility drills.
A coach helped us with each kind of swing, and we practiced hitting at targets. We chipped into nets, hit long shots toward flags, and putted on mats with holes. At the putting station, I started 3 feet from the hole. Once I made that, I moved back to 5 feet. Then 7 feet. The agility station used a bunch of dots that we ran around - forwards, then backwards.
Next, the head coach asked us questions out of the TGA Handbook. Since we were all beginners, they were mostly basic questions. But they taught about more than just golf. They involved math, science, social studies, and character development.
These kinds of lessons go on for 12 weeks. Then, the students take a test that includes those questions. If you pass the test, you move up to the next level. It’s sort of like karate. But instead of going from white belt up to black, TGA golfers get ball markers that start at yellow and move up to orange, red, blue, and then the top level, black. The more advanced the level is, the more advanced the classes are.
TGA is a a great way for kids to learn how to play golf (and tennis) and have fun doing it.
Visit the TGA website for more information about the program and to find a class in your area!
Photos: TGA (class), Jake Aron