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'Welcome a more diverse group': National golf program looking to gain interest with youth

On Wednesday, a national golf program was offered in Regina to introduce the sport to youth who may not otherwise have the opportunity. (Mick Favel / CTV News) On Wednesday, a national golf program was offered in Regina to introduce the sport to youth who may not otherwise have the opportunity. (Mick Favel / CTV News)
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The First Tee Prairies golf program is looking to grow the game by engaging younger players and removing barriers.

On Wednesday, the initiative was offered at Regina’s Lakeview Golf Course introducing golf to youth who may not otherwise have the opportunity.

The program, along with its partners, are working to get youth playing quickly by providing free training, as well as free use of equipment and golf course access.

With easing these financial requirements, they plan to connect the game of golf to new youth demographics.

“This is a program that brings accessible pathways to youth into the game of golf … We’re looking to change the face of golf and welcome a more diverse group into the game,” said Ashley Deck, the Development Officer of First Tee Prairies.

The program is structured around making the game fun, as well as connecting it to other areas of life.

“I want to make sure kids are great growing up, that they can be valuable members of the community, that they can lead others and also have the self esteem and confidence to tackle things outside of golf,” said Jason Muller, a coach from First Tee Prairies.

For new players and their families, it’s an opportune time to learn new skills and spend quality time together.

“Sometimes things that are a little bit tricky are pretty fun, and it helps build relationships in the long run,” said Evie Sawatzky, a mother of a youth participating.

Golf expert Russ Howard said First Tee Prairies is doing something new by easing the players in with fun new exercises. He recalled the low number of youth playing over the years and the difficulty attracting young players to the sport.

“We just didn’t have this type of stuff. The only kids that golfed were parents who dragged their kids out,” he said.

“What First Tee is doing is what I wish we would have done years ago in getting these kids having fun.”

First Tee first began in 1997 in the United States and began in 2020. There are now chapters across Canada. 

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