Delaware State University student leads community effort to hook kids on golf

4/26/2010

When it came time to complete his internship requirement for his sports management degree at Delaware State University (DSU), Eddie Chavis decided he wanted to do something that would benefit the school along with the local community. A former high school golfer, Chavis decided to organize an instructional youth golf clinic at his school through the National Alliance for Youth Sports’ (NAYS) Hook A Kid On Golf program.
By partnering with the local Boys and Girls Club of Dover (Delaware) Chavis held a five-day Hook A Kid On Golf clinic recently for 10 children from the Dover area. Children received instruction on how to swing a club and sink putts, as well as an education on golf’s rich history, rules and etiquette.
 
“I feel that the game of golf teaches kids sportsmanship, how to have a strong body, decision making, competitiveness, good etiquette, how to be positive and also how to learn how to relax,” Chavis said. “But most of all, it teaches how to carry yourself when you’re not in your environment.”
With the help of his internship advisor, Dr. Jan Blade, Chavis was able to raise funds for the clinic from the local community. Not only did this successful clinic satisfy Chavis’ internship requirement, it provided a community outreach activity for both DSU and many local businesses. Not only did many community members and university faculty provide cash donations, but the local high school golf team volunteered their time as well.
“Obviously golf is essential for succeeding in various facets of society,” said Blade, director of sport administration at DSU. “Thus, youngsters who would not otherwise have a chance to be exposed to the sport are given the opportunity and resources to learn the etiquette, rules and basic skills of the game. In addition, parents become aware of the child’s interest in the sport and are more likely to encourage and provide participation opportunities for their child.”
Not only was the experience extremely special for the youngsters who participated, but it provided Chavis with an invaluable experience to prepare him for a career as a recreation professional.
“The program provided the student with the opportunity to apply skills and knowledge gained through courses taken and to gain an understanding of the need for sport managers to be resourceful when things do not go as planned,” Blade said.
Although Chavis organized this clinic to satisfy an internship requirement, any community or university looking to offer youth golf instruction can follow his blueprint. Not only does Hook A Kid On Golf work as an effective feeder program for local golf courses, it provides a wonderful mechanism for universities to reach out to their local community.
“I believe this type of program could be successful in other colleges and universities because it gives back to the community while at the same time promoting the school and the sponsors,” he said. “Most importantly, it gives a student so much experience because of all the work that there is to do.”
The clinics helped to strengthen the university’s relationship with the nearby Maple Dale Country Club and golf facility, as well as revitalized their association with the Simon Circle Boys and Girls Club.
As the first-ever African American to play golf for his high school, Chavis understands full well the obstacles that often keep children from ever experiencing this sport.
“The inspiration just came from wanting to help kids and give them another option other than football and basketball,” he said. “I also grew up in the inner city and those were the only sports we played. So I know firsthand how it feels not to have any other options. These kids needed to see and experience a different environment instead of what they see outside their windows every day.”
Chavis himself spoke to the children at the clinic, stressing the importance of etiquette in golf. Not that far removed from his days on his high school team, Chavis was also able to help instruct the children in swing fundamentals.
Although he is grateful for the valuable experience that this opportunity provided him, Chavis was more concerned with the impact the clinic had on the young participants. 
“This benefits the community because it shows community leaders and golf courses that there are kids out here that want to learn the game of golf and experience new things,” he said. “All they need are the programs and the golf courses to start it up. This helps out Delaware State University because it shows that we are not a university that just promotes basketball and football.”

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