March 27, 2013
On Wednesday, the No. 27 Tennessee men's golf team took a break from their season and teamed up with the First Tee of Greater Knoxville.
The First Tee of Greater Knoxville at Williams Creek is a non-profit organization designed to help youth build character through the game of golf.
The First Tee mission statement: "To impact the lives of youth by providing a place where they can learn and play the game of golf and benefit from the `life lessons' it teaches".
First Tee's program director Reggie Newton and UT head coach Jim Kelson had about 15 to 20 youth on hand for a fun-filled afternoon. The Vols team and staff led the First Tee kids through a 45 minute classroom discussion and then a 45 minute on-course instructional session.
"Today, the University of Tennessee men's golf team has been gracious enough to come out here and be great role model for these kids," Newton said. "The kids listen to these athletes because they have been through the things these kids want to do. These kids want to go to college. They want to play at a high level. So it's a great opportunity for these kids to see what their future could be".
The Vol golfers really embraced the opportunity to interact with the Knoxville youth, sharing stories, golf tips and even a few celebratory chest bumps. Coach Kelson also gave a pep talk on the importance of staying positive and keeping a good attitude in life and on the golf course.
"I feel like it's a real vital experience for players," freshman Oliver Goss said. "All we do as elite players is take, take, take and we never give back. So it feels good to give back to future generation of the game".
"It makes me feel like we are doing the program a service," freshman Grant Daugherty said. "We are giving back to some players that might play for UT in the future. So anything we can do to help out the university, other than play golf, is always a good thing".
"We are helping these kids get started on the right track," junior Marshall Talkington said. "When I was younger, it always meant a lot to me to learn from better players and learn from people who have succeeded down the same road I wanted to be on. It makes it a lot easier when you have someone to emulate".
The Vols are coming off a victory Tuesday at the C&F Bank Intercollegiate and look to keep the positive momentum going as they travel to Augusta, Ga., for the Insperity Invitational on April 6.
To find more information about The First Tee program, visit their website www.thefirstteegreaterknoxville.org.
Fans can also keep up with Tennessee men's golf news on Twitter @Vol_Golf.