The Oneida Indian Nation’s Summer Jam program participants completed the PGA’s popular First Tee program for the fifth consecutive year this summer. With guidance from First Tee coaches and Turning Stone’s Head Teaching Professional, Eric Lorenzetti, and Assistant Golf Professional, Ryan McGinnis, the kids of all skill levels are able to learn the fundamentals of the game.
The First Tee is a youth sports organization available in all 50 states that aims to grow the game of golf by transforming the game experience for kids and their families. Since its inception in 1997, The First Tee has reached more than 15 million kids and more than 5 million each year.
Through fun, engaging and interactive lessons, the kids learn how to drive, chip and putt in many different scenarios. The Turning Stone’s short game area in the dome allows them to get a better feel of how to chip around the green when the weather doesn’t allow them to get on the course. Participants also use the simulator to track their swing and compete in games on a number of different courses.
Kyndra Sequin, a participant in the program this summer, loved getting to drive the ball to the back wall of the dome. “It’s a lot of fun,” she said. “I hit the back and try to hit the cart when it picks up the balls.”
The amount of progression and skill-building from year to year continues to impress Eric. “It’s been fun to watch,” he said. “Lots of the kids have been with us since the beginning and it’s amazing to see their improvement.”
When they’re not on the course, everybody enjoys playing the fun putting games like tic-tac-toe and a billiards-like game in the dome. Everyone’s competitive juices get flowing and they cheer each other on. Later this year, first time participants will receive a brand new set of fitted clubs.