By: Brent Long
HAMILTON, ON – Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities and Nevada Bob’s Golf at Sport Chek are partnering with the City of Hamilton to take its youth F.O.R.E. Golf program to the next level.
The City of Hamilton launched Fun, Organized, Recreational, Enjoyment (F.O.R.E.) Golf in February 2014. The initiative of the Recreation Department is designed to engage at risk youth between the ages of 10 to 15, who would not otherwise have the financial resources, to learn to play through a series of free indoor and outdoor lessons at the city’s two golf clubs; King’s Forest Golf Club and Chedoke Civic Golf Club.
Organizers promoted the new program through Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Hamilton and Burlington and a few neighbourhood schools. Before they knew it 40 youngsters were swinging golf clubs for the very first time in their lives and having fun learning.
“With the addition of Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities and Nevada Bob’s Golf at Sport Chek at Eastgate Mall as partners, the program will be expanded to 60 at risk youth this year,” says Jesse Williamson, Recreation Development Consultant with the City of Hamilton. “The boys and girls who took part in the program last year had a wonderful time. You could see the joy of learning to hit a ball in their smiles. I’m delighted we now have the relationship with Jumpstart and Nevada Bob’s in place that will allow us to grow the program and perhaps allow it to go national down the road.”
From January through March 2014, the F.O.R.E. Golf team conducted a community wide equipment drive that collect over 1,000 used golf clubs at the Chedoke Civic GC golf shop and produced 85 full sets of clubs. Each child who completed one of the programs received a free set of used clubs so they could continue to learn and play.
Three sessions are available this winter/spring starting on Tuesday evenings in February and March at King’s Forest GC and on Tuesday evenings in March and April at Chedoke Civic GC where the youngsters will have the opportunity to use the city’s new Multi-Sport Simulator, followed by an outdoor experience at Chedoke from April 28th to May 19th.
“Canadian Tire Jumpstart is proud to be a partner with the City of Hamilton for its F.O.R.E. Golf program. Golf is one of those sports that can be out of reach for a lot of families due to cost, so to be able to introduce more youth to this sport, whom would otherwise not have a chance to try it, is a perfect fit for us. Hopefully some of these kids will go on to enjoy the game of golf for the rest of their lives, and who knows, maybe there is another Mike Weir amongst them!” says Harry Bell, Regional Manager of Jumpstart Charities for Hamilton-Niagara and South Western Ontario.
“We are really looking forward to introducing the game of golf to a whole new group of children this spring and hopefully they’ll be able to spend their summer playing golf and making friends,” say PGA of Canada Head Professional Mark Arnett who leads the teaching team along with Associate Professional Kyle Gibson. “This truly is a grassroots initiative that will open doors and get kids off their electronic screens and into a natural setting where they can play and learn the traditions of this great game,” Arnett added.