IJGA welcomed First Tee participants to the IJGA Summer Experience

As schools begin to wrap up the school year, the IJGA is in full swing for the summer season. With the Summer Experience back for another summer, junior golfers from all over the world are making their way to Hilton Head Island, S.C., for a summer camp that combines training led by Director of Instruction and Top 100 Golf Instructor, Kevin Smeltz, and the appeal of the beautiful island.

The IJGA Summer Experience is a weekly program offered to juniors looking to improve their golf game in the off-season. The opening week began June 2, with weeks of training extending through the week of August 18, 2014. Juniors are welcome to attend as few as one week or as many as the entire summer to train with certified golf instructors as well as specialized mental training and fitness instructors.

For week two, the IJGA eagerly welcomed the selected 48 First Tee participants to attend the Summer Experience. The First Tee, a junior golf program with a mission, “To impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf,” sent juniors from more than 30 areas of the United States to join the program for the week.

Pierson McAtee of Manhattan, Kan., and The First Tee of Manhattan, joined IJGA for the first time and celebrated his birthday while with us.

“My friend came last year and said he got a great experience,” McAtee said. “I was really excited when I found out I was coming.”

The training with IJGA helped him focus on his putting stroke, and also taught him he needed new shafts. “Being able to focus on mechanics was the most helpful for sure.”

To ensure the ultimate summer experience, juniors wrapped up each day with enjoyable activities including kayaking, spending time on the beach and laser tag.

Roommates Nadine Innes of Union, Ky., Kelsey McCarthy of Manhattan, Kan., and Alexis Begnoche of Fort Thomas, Ky., enjoyed the abundance of after training activities and found it hard to choose what to participate in.

“There were so many to choose from and we couldn’t do them all. Beach, basketball, and bowling were definitely the best,” said McCarthy.

The partnership between the IJGA and First Tee aims to promote development and growth of promising youth through the game of golf. Smeltz and his team of coaches as well as mental coach, Matt Cuccaro, and fitness coach, Mike Paulmeier, teamed up to create a well-balanced program that targeted the most valuable aspects of golf training. Juniors also spent time with Director of College Placement, Ann Maness, to explore the options for college in their futures.

The First Tee and IJGA have partnered since 2010 to offer dedicated junior golfers the opportunity to improve their game in a way that may not otherwise be possible in their area. Both look forward to continuing the program and welcome all First Tee participants to apply to join us in 2015.

The IJGA Summer Experience will continue through the duration of the summer with spots available for the following weeks:

Week 3 – June 16, 2014
Week 4 – June 23, 2014
Week 5 – June 30, 2014
Week 6 – July 7, 2014
Week 7 – July 14, 2014
Week 8 – July 21, 2014
Week 9 – July 28, 2014
Week 10 – August 4, 2014
Week 11 BONUS WEEK – August 11, 2014
Week 12 BONUS WEEK – August 18, 2014

For more information about the First Tee, click here.

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