First Tee Youth Link Up with Cavs Coaches
After talking the talk on Tuesday in Akron, the Cavs coach and his assistants walked the walk on Wednesday in Newburgh Heights – joining over 30 little linksters from the First Tee program at one of Cleveland’s hidden gems, the Washington Golf Learning Center.
The First Tee is a nonprofit youth development organization whose mission is 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.
The coaches and young duffers, ages 9-16, competed in a series of three skill stations. On the practice green, assistant coaches Joe Prunty and Jamahl Moseley worked with one group. At the driving range, it was athletic trainer Max Benton and assistant trainer Steve Spiro. The pitching and chipping range station was manned by new GM of the Canton D-League squad, Wes Wilcox, as well as Coach Scott.
The lesson of the day was "Three Tips for Having Fun" – with students learning ways to be patient, stay positive and ask for assistance.
On the chipping range, Byron Scott showed off his impressive skills – asking young fans where they want the ball on the green – and putting it there.
“I didn’t start playing until I was 33,” said the three-time NBA Champ. “But once I got hooked, there was no going back. It’s just a game that appeals to my competitive nature.”
It was readily apparent that Coach Scott and his staff loved working with the kids – each as attentive and patient with the little linksters as they are with their grownup Cavaliers on the hardwood.
Growing up in Inglewood, California, Scott said he wishes he had “started earlier and I wish I had the opportunity” to learn the game of golf at the age of the First Tee participants.
The First Tee program teaches a variety of life skills to its youngsters. Entry level classes are centered on First Tee’s core values, encouraging participants to develop a positive, respectful “inner self,” while developing an appreciation for the unique culture of golf. The program believes that success is defined as being one’s own best coach, and being a person of strong character in and away from golf.
Like his young protégés, Coach Scott will keep working on his game while the weather still permits.
“I finally found (a swing) that I’m really comfortable with and lets me hit the ball solid every time,” said Scott. “It doesn’t go where I want every time, but at least it gives me a chance. As long as I can keep improving it, it’s going to give me the best chance to be the best I can be. And that’s all I can ask.”
After getting their swings in, the students got a chance to mingle with the Cavs coaches and front office for questions and photos. Each student received a Cavs gift bag which included hats, pencils, notebooks and golf balls to take home as a souvenir for the evening.