Crowne Plaza Invitational kicks off with youth golf clinic
As a baby, Gregory Daley would ride in a small high chair strapped into his family’s golf cart.
Before long, he was hitting golf balls and walking alongside his parents, Nate and Vanessa.
“We love golf, so we made it work,” Vanessa Daley said. “He grew up on the golf course.”
On Sunday, the Fort Worth family was at the Nike Youth Golf Clinic, the kickoff to the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. More than 500 children took turns swinging, putting and learning the ins and outs of golf at the clinic, which was hosted by the Star-Telegram.
As he watched Gregory, now 6, take a swing, Nate Daley said golf is more than a sport.
“It’s a great way for us to spend time together as a family,” he said. “It teaches values we think are important. Don’t give up. Be patient. Follow the rules. And have fun.”
Kevin Long, executive director of The First Tee of Fort Worth, which helped organize the free clinic, said learning golf builds character in young people and enhances their lives. The First Tee introduces children to golf with free and low-cost golf programs and clinics.
“Golf is a game we can play forever. Anyone can play, regardless of age,” Long said. “Golf has so many inherent life-enhancing values. It teaches us courtesy, honesty and how to conduct ourselves.”
For Holly Kolar, 11, playing golf is a way to challenge herself and spend time outdoors. Her mother, Joni Kolar, said she enjoys watching her daughter concentrate on the course.
“Golf is a mental sport,” said Joni Kolar, who lives in Azle. “You are competing with yourself, challenging yourself.”
On Sunday, Holly looked forward to learning new techniques and playing at the Colonial, the largest course she has ever seen in person. Dallas golf pro Cody Gribble, who said he started playing at age 3, was on hand to give the kids a few pointers.
Nearby, Yolanda Sifuentes watched her 4-year-old son Sebastian, line up a shot and swing. Sifuentes said her husband, Luis, plays golf as a sort of relaxation therapy and the couple hopes their son will pick up the sport.
“He’s hitting the ball like a baseball, though,” Sifuentes said with a laugh. “We may need some practice.”
If you go
▪ The Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial PGA Tour tournament is Thursday through Sunday.
▪ Colonial Country Club, 3735 Country Club Circle, Fort Worth.
▪ Information, including parking and tickets: www.crowneplazainvitational.com