It was an intimate day of golf for 16 people in July at one of Los Angeles’ most historic clubs. More than golf, however, it was also an opportunity for both adults and juniors to learn from one another.
Bel-Air Country Club, set high on the hill overlooking the L.A. skyline, hosted eight SCGA Foundation juniors from The First Tee of South Los Angeles and the Tiger Woods Learning Center for the fourth SCGA Foundation G.A.M.E. Day. Each was paired with a Bel-Air member, and all left with expanded knowledge and memories to last a lifetime.
“When I participate in great programs like The First Tee and G.A.M.E Day with the SCGA, it allows me to listen to the advice of mentors that help me to attend college,” said Victor Jackson of The First Tee of South Los Angeles. “These mentors share stories and explain the choices that they made in preparing their lives.”
G.A.M.E. Days, one of the Foundation’s quickly growing programs, stands for Golf, Awareness, Education, and Mentoring. Foundation G.A.M.E. Days bring juniors from different Foundation partner programs together for a day of golf and mentoring at a private country club, which most of the juniors would not otherwise have access. This is Bel-Air’s first time hosting an SCGA Foundation event.
“I have learned that to achieve anything you have to have a plan,” said Trey Woods, a First Tee of South Los Angeles member. “I know that I must set high expectations on myself and develop a plan for achieving those plans. I must identify positive role models and learn from them. Being able to talk with such people will help me in making the proper decisions for my future.”
Bel-Air Pro Emeritus and SCGA Hall of Fame member Eddie Merrins kicked off the event at a breakfast program, which included a history of Bel-Air CC and a tour of its legendary trophy case. Golfers then paired up in teams of a junior and member, and teed it up in a best-ball round of golf. Following, Head Golf Professional Dave Podas hosted players at lunch at the Top of the Tee.
Winners of the golf competition were Bel-Air member Dr. Steven Lombardo and The First Tee of South Los Angeles member Kristin Grimes. Along the way, all golfers answered questions on the course such as “When did you start playing golf and what role has it played in your life?” “How has golf helped you in your life, at school, in your career or at your business?” and “Who do you have a lot of respect for and why?”
“I created a team around me, people who I trusted and thought highly of in order to help me,” she said. “I learned from this that there will always be a team needed, even in golf. An example would be a golf instructor and a student; even though there are only two present, they are still a team. The student trusts the instructor to help him mold her game into what she wants, and the instructor trusts that the student will practice and show improvement.”
Other juniors reflected on their overall personal improvement through golf. “My behavior on the course and off the course is the same,” said Alvaro Gonzalez, member of the Tiger Woods Learning Center. “I will be calmer and focused on the golf course than somewhere else. Golf influences my behavior a lot. Before, I golfed and I didn’t really have behavior or manners. The first day I was taught, however, I learned more manners and have started to have [better] behavior since that one day. Golf has taught me a lot of lessons in life.”
For more information on the SCGA Foundation, visit scga.org/foundation.
To view photos of the event, visit scga.fototime.com.