Megan Schofill (at right) giving putting tips to a Boys and Girls Club of Greater Augusta member April 1 at First Tee Augusta. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News
Megan Schofill (at right) giving putting tips to a Boys and Girls Club of Greater Augusta member April 1 at First Tee Augusta. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News

Female golfers ‘play it forward’ at youth golf clinic

First Tee introduced Latanna Stone to golf, and on Monday, the Louisiana State University golfer was at First Tee Augusta in hopes of inspiring the next generation of golfers.

“I hope they take it all in,” said Stone, who is in Augusta this week for the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, which is April 3-6.

She was one of several athletes participating in the third annual Bank of America Play it Forward Golf Clinic at First Tee Augusta.

 Stone said First Tee taught her the fundamentals of the game as well as helped develop good character.

 “Learning discipline, being a good person. Golf teaches you to be honest, disciplined,” she said.

Women golfers assisted with a clinic at First Tee. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News

Members of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Augusta learned about putting, chipping and pitching as well as teamwork, balance and confidence. They also participated in a unique art project by dipping golf balls into paint and putting them across a canvas.

“This is a really cool event,” said Megha Ganne, a Stanford University sophomore, helping with the clinic. “I love sharing my love of the game with the kids today at this clinic…Maybe we introduce someone that’s never played it before and that’s a win at the end of the day.”

Not only did the Boys and Girls Club members meet some of the rising stars in women’s golf, but they met the sports’ G.O.A.T.  – a term the children readily understood.

Suzy Whaley, former president of PGA of America, used that acronym for the “greatest of all time,” when introducing Annika Sorenstam, who won 90 international professional events in her career.

Before the clinic started, Sorenstam said she was glad to be able to participate in it for the second year.

“This Bank of America Play It Forward is about sharing something I’m passionate about, teaching some fundamentals and giving back to the sport,” she said. “It’s fun energies; the atmosphere is fun; the kids are outside, and we’re able to share some tips of the game.”

Most of the club members participating in the clinic were younger students, but Zyani Recendiz-Rodriguez, an A.R. Johnson Health Science and Engineering Magnet School junior, had the role of junior reporter for the event.

 It’s the second year she’s had the chance to participate, and she said she has gotten a lot out of it to help her own game. She’s the only female on the golf team at A.R. Johnson.

Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Augusta members learned about golf at a clinic April 1. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News

“It was definitely interesting to be able to talk to the women I’ve been able to follow especially Amari Avery,” said Recendiz-Rodriguez, who has studied Avery’s YouTube videos to improve her own game.

She said she likes watching the eyes of the younger students who were exposed to golf for the first time and seeing the “passion ignite in them.”

Sponsors of the event said it was a good way to get into the swing of two weeks of golf in Augusta and give back to youth.

“We’re hoping this event today will really give kids the chance to be inspired, to get some hands-on action with golf so that as the tournament kicks off, they will have some real life knowledge of what golf is and hopefully be inspired by the women here today,” said Marissa Smith, market executive, Bank of America Augusta.

Charmain Z. Brackett, the publisher of Augusta Good News and Inspiring: Women of Augusta, has covered Augusta’s news for more than 35 years. Reach her at charmain@augustagoodnews.com. Sign up for the newsletter here.

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