Future of Rocket golf sure to be a ‘hole in one’ with help from SHS role models

Program fundraiser is a hit as up to 50 youngsters have turned out for a session


Photo by Abbie Myers

Junior Courtney Morgan gives one of the youth golfers a high five May 23 during the last session of the program. (photo by Abigail Myers)

Rocket golfers and coaches are volunteering their time to a program for youth golfers in grades third-eighth in hopes of having a positive impact on the future of golf here at SHS.

This is the first year for the youth golf program, which aims to help kids improve their skills and learn more about the sport. 

And with nearly all the Rocket golfers participating, this program also serves as an opportunity for the high schoolers to develop leadership skills.

Head Golf Coach Tim Foster and Scott Clark, youth program coordinator, have had the idea to bring this program to Streetsboro since last summer.

“In January, we put the idea out on social media and were really surprised by the interest,” Clark said. “The interest proved there is a need in the community and that we could begin to work on it.”

As more people showed interested in joining the program, Foster and Clark eventually worked out the details. Foster said some local businesses donated startup funds and Streetsboro residents also donated used clubs for the kids to use.

Their first practice was held April 11 at the multipurpose field across from the library. 

“Practices have been focused on specific skill building,’’ he added. “Session one focused on the basics of the swing, grip and contact.”

As practices went on, both Foster and Clark said they could see a lot of improvement from both the younger kids as well as the high school golfers. 

“Most of the younger kids are learning rather quickly and I think that the older kids who have a little more experience have also been able to gain improvement in their skills,” Foster said. “There are some really good golfers coming up.”

As beneficial as this is for the youth participating in the program, we believe it is just as beneficial to the high school golfers volunteering. They get a lot out of helping the youth including building their confidence.

— Youth Program Coordinator Scott Clark

The teenagers have been learning how to apply their leadership skills to the sport and in the community and they hope to pass on these opportunities for generations to come. For junior Jacy Yusko-Barracato, that is one of the main reasons he started to volunteer in this program.

My role models have never been the best, so by helping the program, I get a feeling that is truly indescribable,” Yusko-Barra said.

Furthermore, it is not just the young golfers and the teens who are acquiring new knowledge. “The kids are learning and so are we,” Clark said.

Not only are the young athletes learning golf skills but they are also enjoying themselves and having plenty of fun.

Freshman Sam Clark is one volunteer who has seen the children react at practice. 

“My favorite memory was when we set up a little course and had the girls play,” she said. “The smiles on their faces when they were playing made me smile because it really seemed like they were enjoying themselves.”

Sophomore Bryson Jacobs instructs some of the youth golfers May 23 at Windmill Lakes Golf Center in Macedonia. (photo by Abigail Myers)

As for the high schoolers, many of them agreed that if this program had been around when they were young, it would definitely have benefitted them. 

Yusko-Barracato hopes to see the kids apply the skills they learn in this program to their personal lives.

“Hard work and dedication can take you wherever you want to go,” he said. 

Freshman Cortney Evert said she feels the program is going great. She is one of the leaders with high expectations for where this program will take the young golfers.

Pullquote Photo

Learning the sport of golf teaches so many important life lessons (patience, persistence, willingness to try new things) that will make these kids better individuals and eventually more successful and productive citizens of whatever community they eventually decide to call home.

— Head Varsity Girls Coach Tim Foster

“I hope that the kids will stay in golf, and that when they get older, they will never forget what all of the helpers taught them.”

Sam Clark added, “I hope they take away that it is just as fun as any other sport.’’

Sophomore Kyle Liddle, who was the only athlete to hit a hole in one this past fall, also volunteers for this program. He said his main objective is to teach the young athletes what he has learned from playing at the Varsity level. 

“I just wanted to meet some possible future golfers, help the community, and pass on a little bit of what I have learned in the past two years,” Liddle said. 

Since this program has started teaching the kids the fundamentals of golf at such a young age, the coaches would not be astonished if the participants continued their careers throughout high school and college. 

“There are some talented kids in this program,” Scott Clark said. “I won’t be surprised if they get some attention from college coaches or tournaments before they graduate high school. If those kids give back to the program and volunteer, it will encourage a whole new group of youth to try the game and continue the cycle.” 

Foster said they have received “really good feedback from the parents. Some have even asked what we are going to be doing next…As it was the first time running the program, there are things that we will do to improve it next year,” he said. “But overall, I think that it has really been successful in promoting the sport to the youth of Streetsboro and has done a lot to help build the program.”