Tees to Success

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Fifteen-year-old James Hassell, the 2020 FHSAA Class 3A state champion, shows the youngsters how it’s done.


It’s a Monday afternoon, and while the sky may be overcast, to the eager youngsters gathered at Sandridge Golf Club, the sun is shining bright. For the next hour and a half they will practice golf drills under the watchful eyes of PGA and LPGA professionals, adult volunteers and player cadets. Cheers will be heard as balls meet their mark, groans when they miss. No matter the end result, enthusiasm fills the air.

Youth golf is alive and well, thanks to PGA Life Member and Master Professional Roger Van Dyke, who established the Indian River Golf Foundation 12 years ago, and Bela Nagy, PGA director of golf at Sandridge, a public course owned and operated by the county.

Even though the young golfers may not go on to become another Tiger Woods or Annika Sorenstam, they will have learned valuable skills and life lessons that come from playing the game. IRGF programs also encourage young people to get to know one another and play together, creating a sense of camaraderie and teamwork that can lead to friendships that last beyond the putting green.

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