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PGM Students Take Swing at Outreach

May 09, 2006

Students in the Professional Golf Management Club at ASU's Polytechnic campus are taking the game of golf to the streets, engaging golfers and non-golfers of all ages in the game through several outreach activities in the East Valley.

Club members have been holding on-site clinics at Leisure World, an active adult community in Mesa since spring 2005. The clinics run four to five weeks, which include several weeks of instruction, followed by an "on course" scramble. The clinics are held each spring and fall at the golf facilities in the Leisure World community.

"Each session, we have about 30 participants, made up of those who may have never played or who have been away from the game for many years," says Curt Hudek, director of the PGM program.

During the academic year, club members also focus on younger audiences. Twice a week through May, between eight to 14 students enrolled in Project ChalleNGe, a military-based educational program for high school dropouts run by the Arizona National Guard, attend clinics to learn about the game and skills needed and how those skills can transfer into everyday life.

Some ChalleNGe students really enjoy it, while others say golf just is not their game.

"For me, coming here gives me a sense of freedom and helps relieve stress," says Alex Facciotti, a ChalleNGe student.

Even though Mona Valencia says golf is not her thing, she is getting something out of it. "I am learning about posture," she says.

And for the third semester, PGM students are working with the Boys & Girls Club members ages six to 14 on the TARGET program once a week through May. During each 75-minute session, students learn six core lessons that are representative of the word TARGET - "Take aim", "Anyone" can play, "Respect" and so on.

The programs for the Boys & Girls Club and the Project Challenge students are held on the Golf Driving Range at the Polytechnic campus. "The teachers, basically ASU students, are working with audiences that range in age from six-years-old to seniors citizens," says Hudek. "The exposure to diverse audiences is a great learning tool for our students and it benefits the participants as well." Community outreach started for the group in spring 2005 when the PGM Club was awarded a Community Action Grant from Associated Students of ASU to establish the youth golf clinics for the East Valley Boys & Girls Club Williams Campus branch.

Hudek adds that these outreach activities fit in well with the PGA testing requirements. "The teaching aspect allows ASU students to meet their golf clinic requirements without having to leave the campus or travel very far."

Next fall the club will look at working with the schools dedicated to homeless children, according to Peter McSparran, PGM student and outreach director.

"One of the things I would like to see is the expansion of the TARGET program with inner-city school districts and schools like T.J. Pappas School for children of homeless families throughout the academic year," says McSparran.

If you would like to support the expansion of the outreach activities or for more information on the programs, contact the PGM office at (480) 727-1180.