Nearly twenty Beaver Golf junior golfers attended the TimberTech Championship Junior Clinic hosted by First Tee last Thursday. While waiting for the event to begin some of the golfers were able to watch Champions Tour Players Vijay Singh and K.J. Choi practice short game and full swing respectively which was an unexpected treat.
Rookie Champions Tour Player Tim O'neal was the featured speaker for the clinic. He shared a remarkable story of perserverance. He has had a goal of playing on tour for a very long time and it only came true this past year at the age of 51. He encouraged the golfers to keep a focused eye on their dreams and never give up on attaining them no matter how long it takes. When asked if he would change any decisions he made in the past, he said, "I would go back and practice short game with 80% of my time instead of working on the long drive." He went on to say, that while he is one of the longest hitters on tour, getting it in the hole is what counts.
The junior golfers got to see those drives. Tim O'neal was able to crush the ball even on a windy day. Afterwards, he invited some of the juniors to show off their skills. Mateo Muñiz thought it would be best to let other golfers try, but First Tee Executive Director, Carl Mistretta, did not agree. The surprise of the day was when Abriella Morrison stepped up to take her shot as the only female golfer to accept the challenge. Her Mom was convinced that she would not be comfortable in front of a large crowd, but she was definitely mistaken.
The last order of business was the check presentation. First Tee - Florida Gold Coast was awarded $15,000 to continue building game changers in golf and in life. We are extremely honored to be affiliated with First Tee so our juniors can have access to these opportunities. Last year, some golfers were invited to a behind the scenes tour and we are looking forward to many more.
The TimberTech Championship story does not end there. Let's fast forward to the Final Day of the tournament.
Mateo Muñiz was treated to a day at the final day of the The TimberTech Championship compliments of First Tee of the Palm Beaches. He was very excited to share the experience with his friend Caden Weiler who is starting to take an interest in competitive golf. It was Mateo's first time attending a Champions Tour event and Caden's first professional event.
Much to their surprise the crowds were very light so after watching some shots from their VIP seating they decided to hang out around the 18th hole in hopes of meeting some of the players. While there Mateo was able to reconnect with golf legend, Mr. Bob Toski and get an update about the next Toski Junior Tournament. They also met Major Champs: Ernie Els and Mike Weir and Tour players: K.J. Choi, Jerry Kelly and David Toms. Defending TimberTech Champion, Bernhard Langer even stopped to sign a ball before heading in to sign his scorecard.
Caden could not say thank you enough for the invitation commenting that "watching golf in person is way better than watching on television." Mateo was overjoyed by the friendliness and willingness of the players to interact after their final round. Both left with memories that will last a lifetime.
After participating in a 5-week local Leadership Series at the PGA Superstore in Palm Beach Gardens in the spring, Nathan was encouraged to apply for the First Tee Leadership Summit to represent the First Tee of The Palm Beaches. The event builds on the series and is designed for teens to explore leadership concepts including (1) building authentic relationships by developing awareness, (2) growing through challenge via positive risk taking, and (3) developing positive self-identity through dynamic outdoor and teambuilding activities.
He was selected and spent an incredible week at the West Creek Ranch in Montana where he participated in activity-based workshops facilitated by leaders from PGA TOUR Superstore headquarters, West Creek Ranch, and First Tee headquarters.
It truly was the best week of my life. I met wonderful people, experienced amazing adventures, discussed values and learned leadership skills that I will use in all aspects of my life.
The experience that most impacted me or stood out to me was the 9-hole golf outing, as I was able to establish connections with both my peers and true-born leaders such as Ralph Stokes of the PGA Tour Superstore. His story about being the first black player for the Alabama football team was truly inspiring! -Nathan Vertes
Thank you Coach Glen for helping Nate reach for the stars!!! He is truly having the best week of his life!!!!! Making friends, team building, learning, valuable leadership skills and making memories that will last a lifetime!!!!! -Amy Vertes
Healthy Habit: Family
If you did a search on the internet about the importance of family, you would probably find a ton of studies with a lot of feel good terms but when you are kid you are probably not thinking about building a foundation for future relationships and success. Instead, some kids are forming opinions about family based on their experiences. If they get their way, they love their parents but if they don't-their parents are the worst. Sibling relationships can also vary moment to moment- love and hate them. The hope is that with maturity their viewpoints will adjust.
When you are a student athlete and your parents are driving you all over for lessons and competitions, it is easy to take your parents for granted. If their other siblings are not athletes this can also create tension in the family. It is not easy to balance the priorities but it can be done. Check out the articles below:
Mike started out as one of my private golf students and today I am honored to call him friend. He is a good player but like most he allows the bad shot to take over too much mental space which leads to more poor shots. What impresses me about Mike is his desire to keep practicing and playing even as he deals with debilitating pain which is probably why we get a long so well.
When he asked about being a volunteer, I was not surprised. People see that I have a lot of kids and they always ask but Mike was the first to follow through by completing all of the necessary background checks and training that First Tee requires. He really enjoys watching the kids and is their biggest cheerleader. When I was informed that he was awarded Volunteer of the Year for 2022 and that they wanted him to attend a special event, I laughed. There was no way that Mike was going to a special event, if he was getting an award it would need to be in front of his players.
It took two tries to present it since his back was not cooperating but we did it. He was completely unaware of what was happening at the time. Congratulations Mike!!!
Q: How does it feel to receive this award?
A: It is an honor to receive an award for GIVING.
Q: How did you get started playing golf?
A: Curiosity, my friend started to play and I went along with him.
Q: What prompted you to start volunteering?
A: I had been taking lessons with Glen for several weeks and he mentioned that he also taught kids as part of the First Tee program, so I asked if he needed any help.
Q: What do you enjoy the most about volunteering?
A: Giving back is the greatest lesson, no matter how or when I have found it to be the greatest reward that I have experienced in my life.
Q: When you are not playing golf what do you like to do?
A: Watch and play sports, spend time with family.
Q: Who is your favorite golfer and why?
A: Bernard Langer, his dedication to be the best.
Q: Most people who are experiencing the kind of pain that you are, would just stop volunteering until they are well. Why is it important for you to keep your commitment no matter what?
A: I was taught by my father a long time ago, if you make a commitment you keep it no matter what. As the classes went on I observed that this was much more than teaching golf, Glen had a group of people who cared about teaching respect, family, and integrity etc. (Glen, Danni, Mayda, Mateo, Zack, Stan, Reva) It has truly been a privilege to be involved with Glen and his crew, it is not often you get to spend time with such good people.
If your junior is interested in golf, the first step is lessons but the real enjoyment for the game happens when they get on course to play and apply what they are learning.
First tee and Youth on Course have forged a great partnership where your junior can play at select golf courses for $5. Each course has their own restrictions so additional fees could apply. Click here to join Youth on Course and take advantage of this great opportunity.
Application with the right understanding makes a difference.