Local PGA Pros bring golf to Torrington schools
Fairview Farms head PGA Professional Bob Sparks brought the game of golf to Torringford School this week through the PE2Tee Program.
TORRINGTON - The calender says February and spring seems so far away but that didn't stop the students at Torringford Elementary School from hitting the links and playing a little golf this week.
The links turned out to be the gym, but that good enough as local PGA Professionals Bob Sparks and George DeVita introduced the game of golf to a new generation of players thanks to the PE2Tee Program.
The program has been developed for teachers to provide students the opportunity to learn basic fundamentals inherent in golf while helping develop motor skills needed to excel in sports and life. The program helps schools with equipment, curriculum and training which allows Phys Ed teachers to integrate golf into their curriculum.
Sparks, the head PGA Pro at Fairview Farms in Harwinton, had been looking for a better way to reach out to local school and junior players and introduce them to the game of golf. That's where DeVita, the head professional at Farmington Woods Golf Club in Farmington who started PE2Tee came in. Sparks and DeVita knew each other through teaching indoors and when Sparks saw the program he saw a way to bring golf to local kids.
"I had been wanting to do something like this here for a while but I just never had the tools to do it," Sparks said. "I knew what they were doing and these guys provided the tools for me to reach out to local schools, grow golfers and grow the game."
Once he had the tools, everything else fell into place for Sparks. He reached out to Torrington Physical Education teacher Eric Mahar and invited him to see what PE2Tee could offer. Once Mahar saw the program in action, things kept progressing.
"Bob reached out to me and invited me to see the program and I went to check it out at Simsbury and loved it," Mahar said. "Bob came in on one of our professional development days and showed us the equipment and program and we went from there."
Sparks definitely wanted reach more young players in the area and now had the tools to do it but was still a bit unsure if it would be something local schools would adopt. It turns out he had little to worry about.
"I met with all the PE teachers in Torrington a few weeks ago at a professional development day and I was a little apprehensive, I thought they might wonder who's guy with all this stuff and what's he going to do to my class," Sparks said. "These guys loved it. They were picking up the clubs, hitting balls and it was so exciting for them because it is something different for them to teach."
It's different and fun too. The program includes oversized clubs and balls to make the game easier. There are alignment tools, fun targets, including a velcro suit that a teacher can wear and it all goes toward introducing the game in a new, fun and engaging way that Sparks and DeVita hope will result in more and more young players picking up the game.
"If just one kid picks up the sport of golf we have been successful," Mahar said. "The kids love it and are really taking to it. They have been enthusiastic and it's a great way to introduce young kids to the game."
And that is what Sparks and DeVita are hoping for, a chance to get more and more kids into the sport and if kids are interested in pursuing the game further, the exposure to the PE2Tee program and local PGA pros will help them find places to do it.
"Kids are golfing, that's what is in it for us, that's all we want," DeVita said. "We just want kids to turn kids on to golf. It's really for the love of the sport and to grow the game. We want to keep the game going."
Growing the game through the PE2Tee program is just the beginning too. Both DeVita and Sparks are involved in a number of youth programs and are looking forward to a new program in the summer, the PGA Junior League.
"It's kind of like Little League, it's a team environment, all the kids will help each other, you get a uniform and get to play and learn the game in a team environment," Sparks said. "I'll have a team, George will have a team at his course and we'll go to different courses and play. It's a great concept and we are excited about it."