A group of young Chicago area golfers had a memorable Saturday that included getting lessons from golf pros and playing a few rounds at one of the most renowned private clubs in the area.
Experiencing an afternoon of golf at Ivanhoe Club in Ivanhoe, near Mundelein, was really special, said 14-year-old Trevor Britton of Wadsworth.
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"It's a really nice facility; there is a lot of lush green," said Trevor, who's been golfing since age 9. "I've never been here before, and I'm really glad to be here."
Trevor and the other 12 kids who spent the afternoon at Ivanhoe are participants in The First Tee of Greater Chicago's summer program at Foss Park in North Chicago.
The kids were all top point-earners in First Tee's system of rewarding kids for good choices. Kids can earn points by being on time for class, writing a monthly essay, turning in a signed score for playing a round of golf, and more.
The First Tee of Greater Chicago offers summer programs at eight locations throughout the Chicago area, serving about 750 kids overall, said Darryl Stackhouse, director of educational programs for First Tee.
The top point-earners at each location get rewarded in different ways, he said. "This is the first time we were invited here, so it's a great opportunity for the kids."
Ivanhoe head golf pro Jim Sobb spent time with each young golfer.
"They all come with skills. Everybody has their own idiosyncrasies, so we're just trying to strengthen their fundamentals," he said.
Thirteen-year-old Thandi Steele, of Evanston, said she loved the experience, which included a tour of the club house, and getting a locker and a nice lunch. Club members also played golf with the kids.
First Tee is a really cool program, Thandi said.
"It's kind of educational while you also enjoy your play," she said.
Parent Ana Bedon of Chicago agreed, saying First Tee doesn't just teach golf, but life skills too. Her children, Daniel, 11, and Emilio, 9, have participated in the program since they were seven.
"They teach them about being honest, having integrity -- golf teaches all those core values," she said. "They teach them good life values."