The La Paloma Junior Golf Team is now in its 3rd Season (2nd Fall Semester). In the nearly 18 months since we started the program from scratch at the Country Club, the team has grown from just nine juniors to as many as 18! There’s definitely an appetite for structured golf practice and matches just like there is for many of the more traditional sports: football, baseball, basketball, and soccer.
It’s been a lot of fun to see and experience firsthand. We’ve made some amazing connections and witnessed a lot of improvement. We’re always saying the same thing as coaches, “Man, we wish they had this when we were kids!”
We practice every Monday at La Paloma, and then we play matches every Wednesday. At least twice a month, we also try to schedule away matches against other Junior Golf Teams or programs around the city of Tucson. After all, you can only intrasquad scrimmage so much!
Thanks to some of the coaching connections we made this past summer as part of the PGA Junior League program, this week we had the opportunity to play at The First Tee of Tucson located right next to El Rio Golf Course. It’s a really nice facility: a three-hole Par 3 course with real grass teeing grounds and greens with multiple pin placements with a driving range, a practice putting green, and lights. Yes, lights. When I heard we had a chance to play golf under the lights, I couldn’t pass it up. With the days getting shorter and shorter, a chance to tee it up past 5:30p was just too cool. And with multiple pin positions on each green, playing three holes was just like playing nine.
First Tee Program and Life Skills Director Landyn Lewis and his staff couldn’t have been more accommodating. Our team was greeted with score cards, pencils, and a scoreboard, and after the match, they handed out popsicles to all the kids. It’s not every day that you get to play any sport under the lights, much less golf, but this was a day our juniors won’t soon forget. Once again, we have golf to thank for that. And here’s a video we made to commemorate our special Pumpkin Smash Halloween-eve golf practice: