Larry Olmsted looks at an alternative to the First Tee called the TGA that works on a franchise model and has already been picked up by the USTA to create a version for tennis.
“Having worked for Rick Smith at Treetops [a perennial candidate for one of the best teachers in the world and his home resort in Michigan] and having been a teaching pro, I’ve seen every ‘growing the game’ initiative in the past 20 years, and none of them have worked. This one immediately caught my eye because it makes so much sense,” said former PGA professional Kevin Frisch, now a spokesman for the program he describes, TGA Premier Junior Golf, a fast growing franchise.
The TGA stands for Teach, Grow, Achieve, the grow part being the game of golf. The concept was launched by Joshua Jacobs in 2003, when he had the bright idea to cross the declining notion of teaching golf to kids with the fast growing and red hot trend of after school enrichment programs. These have been booming across the country as a way to productively fill time between the end of the school day and the end of the parents’ work day, while teaching the kids something beyond the classroom. To date, the main areas of focus have been academic or cultural, such as performing arts. So why not golf?