This has been a doozy of a week in Connecticut! Fallen trees, downed wires, widespread power outages, school closures. My older son’s elementary school was shut down for two days and my little guy’s preschool has been power-less (and closed) all week, so you can guess how much *free* time I’ve had for the blog these past few days (hint: almost none).
So in lieu of one of our normal (colossal) posts, I thought this might be a good opportunity to share just a few pics and a little bit of information about a program that a friend (thanks, Abby!) introduced me to over the summer: The First Tee.
You may have noticed that there’s been a lot of mini golf on the blogging schedule lately– putting through the jungle at Sarafi Golf in Berlin, playing an alpine-themed round at Matterhorn Mini Golf in Canton, even braving the Haunted Mini Golf in Farmington.
But behind the scenes, there’s also been some real golf in the mix. My husband is a HUGE golfer. The man will happily wake up before dawn on a Saturday morning to play 9 holes and be back in time for breakfast. So you can imagine how he’s been counting down the days until he could properly introduce our children to the game.
This past summer and into the fall, my older son participated in golf lessons (the outdoor program) at The First Tee in Cromwell, CT (the Krapek Family Learning Links). The First Tee is a national organization with locations all across CT and around the country. It teaches golf (with a side of life skills) to kids and teens. Their Cromwell location is situated next to the TPC River Highlands golf course (home of the Travelers Championship).
The First Tee of Connecticut is for kids ages 5-18. Each age group has its own program, which you can read more about here. My guy started over the summer in the “Target Level,” for ages 5 & 6, and then followed up in the “Player Level” in the fall once he turned 7 (as a side note, the “Player Level”–for ages 7 and up–is required in order to move on to subsequent levels no matter the age; so whether your child starts at age 7 or age 11, he or she will have to start in the “Player Level”).
The pictures in this post are from the “Target Level” program over the summer. These are the beginners for sure! Ages 5 & 6 and very new to golf 🙂
In the very beginning, the kids didn’t use their *real* golf equipment all that much, Instead, oversized clubs and a variety of different sized balls helped them get a feel for the game. Gradually, they started to use their clubs more often. At the last class, they even got to play a scramble on the executive course!
Parents are welcome to stay, but they are not allowed down on the practice areas with the kids. There is a spacious patio with a great view of all the action though–and an indoor facility with, ahem, facilities 🙂
Although you’re not allowed to use any of the practice areas while you are there (only the kids taking the lessons can use them), on Sunday mornings the executive course is open to anyone who is currently registered for lessons. So you could go out there with your kiddos for some extra practice. We never did take advantage of that, but it’s something we will definitely do in the future! That’s a nice perk 🙂
Another nice thing about The First Tee is that while teaching your kids about golf, they also emphasize life skills with their Nine Core Values. Things like honesty, integrity, sportsmanship and courtesy–lessons that will take them far beyond the course
The lessons run for seven-week sessions. The duration varies but for the smaller kids they last about an hour, which is probably all they can handle. The cost is very reasonable. It varies across facilities, but I think we paid around $80 for 7, 1-hour group lessons. (They also offer financial assistance when appropriate.)
I admit that I didn’t actually get to attend and observe any of his fall classes (by then the little guy had soccer and we were in “divide and conquer” mode), but my husband tells me that in the Player Level they, and I quote, “play more real golf.” So there you have it. More golf in the Player Level! My husband has always been a man of few words. Haha 🙂
Unfortunately, I’m bringing you this post after the outdoor program has ended for the season (there are some indoor programs during the off season– November to March). But go ahead now and mark your calendar for spring registration.
If you’ve been searching for a way to introduce your little one to golf, The First Tee is a great option! Find a list of CT locations here.
Looking for more information? Start with this helpful list of FAQs!
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