KAUAI – Three of Kauai’s golf courses recently participated in a dynamic new program to introduce the game of golf to students at the island’s public elementary schools. Called “SNAG”, the program was designed on the mainland and funded locally by the PGA of America Aloha Section.
Golf pros from Poipu Bay Golf Course, Princeville Golf Club and Puakea Golf Course visited all 10 of Kauai’s elementary schools-Koloa, Kalaheo, Eleele, Kekaha, Waimea Canyon, Kaumualii, Kapaa, Wilcox, Kilauea and Hanalei.
The pros provided introductory lessons for 30 students at each school, primarily 5th and 6th graders, using specially-designed equipment including very large-headed clubs with tennis balls. The young people were taught the basics of how to swing and putt, and those who were interested in learning more about golf were invited to join the Kauai Junior Golf Association.
The SNAG program introduces the basic rudiments of golf to students in a fun, interactive manner. Golf terms are introduced in a unique way, making it easy for young people to remember their meaning. Putting stations are set up for the students to practice putts and all are given the opportunity to “take a swing”.
Joey Castillo, Assistant Golf Pro at Poipu Bay Golf Course, participated in the program at some of Kauai’s south shore schools. Castillo was struck by the interest and excitement the students showed towards the game of golf-a major shift from how the game was perceived when he was a child.
“I grew up playing golf,” notes Castillo, whose father was a well-known Hawaii golf pro. “I remember when I was in 5th grade I took my clubs to school for a ‘show and tell’ presentation. I went outside and hit some balls on the field. My classmates didn’t even know what golf was, and they thought it was a ‘sissy game’.
They were impressed with my shots, however, when I handed the club to the tough kid in school and he couldn’t even hit the ball!”
The SNAG program introduces the game to young people in a non-intimidating way, with special equipment that makes it easy for first-timers to succeed.
“We found that today’s students already have a knowledge of golf,” says Castillo. “They know the name of Tiger Woods and other golf pros, and they’re interested in getting involved in the sport.”
It is hoped that the SNAG program can be made available to Physical Education teachers on Kauai as part of their regular curriculum.