After starting the golf program in the fall of 2011, I knew that the Academy was on the right track for a beginning program.  I think it is important to encourage all young people to have the confidence to pick a club and swing for the fairways!

The rewards of playing golf are spelled out in The First Tee of San Joaquin mission statement: To impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values, and promote healthy choices through the game of golf.

Check out The First Tee’s top 10 reasons youth should play golf:

10. Enjoy the outdoors: Young people should play golf because it is an opportunity to spend a few hours in the fresh air.

9. Develop lifelong friendships: You never know who you will meet on the fairway.

8. Practice personal responsibility: Sometimes the ball doesn’t always bounce your way, but regardless of the outcome, there is no blaming your teammates for what happens.

7. Have a safe place to play: The golf course is a safe place and facilitates mentoring relationships in a safe environment.

6. Manage your emotions: Golf closely parallels real life as one experiences the highs and lows of the game. This range of experience, from birdies to triple bogeys, rewards a young person’s ability to keep each shot in perspective, manage one’s emotions, maintain a positive outlook, and focus on the shot at hand.

5. Appreciate diversity: Golf is a game that can be played for a lifetime by anyone regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, size, or skill level.

4. Prepare for business: Golf is a sport that helps prepare kids and teens for careers in business and other professional arenas.

3. Learn etiquette: Young people should play golf because it is based on characteristics that are missing in our society. Golf places an emphasis on etiquette. In golf there is no judge or referee; instead, players govern themselves and fellow competitors.

2. Spend time with family: Golf is a game that encourages family participation.

1. Wellness for life. With the youth obesity epidemic in our country, golf is a sport that helps young people get off the couch. When you play golf walking the golf course and carrying your bag, a 150- pound person burns 350 calories and walks more than 10,000 steps.