Mathews-Dickey helping to grow the game of golf with Jr. League team

ST. LOUIS – The PGA, Tee Masters Golf Club, and Mathews-Dickey Boys and Girls Club are growing the game of golf for future players and giving kids the skills for greatness by partnering to create a St. Louis team.

“Golf has been so alien to certain communities,” said Wendell Covington, president and CEO of the Mathews-Dickey Boys and Girls Club.

To help these kids understand the game, the Tee Masters and PGA pros work them twice a week for 20 weeks.

“When we first met them, they had obviously no clubs, had never been on a golf course, now they’ve got brand new sets of clubs and new uniforms,” said Anthony Coleman, a coach with the Tee Masters Golf Club and PGA Jr. League.

“You can see, what you have is a lot of kids enjoying the outdoors…behavioral alternatives, life lessons, fresh air, safety; these are all the factors that come with this kind of thing.”

Parker Perry has played golf for 10 years.  And now the 16-year-old assists the coaches and instructors.

“Golf is my favorite sport in the entire world. I've tried everything and I love golf so much," she said.

Perry said she wants to play golf for a college team.  To cover higher education costs, Covington researched golf scholarships and found plenty out there. But not everybody knows about them.

“We’ve been known for football, basketball, baseball. But more importantly, we want to give young people a skill set that they could possibly finance college with,” Covington said.

The St. Louis Jr. League team celebrated its first season with a visit to the 100th PGA Championship. Mathews-Dickey plans to keep the team busy year-round.

“We’re trying to get, purchase indoor golf simulators so our young people can play this game all year round,” Coleman said. “The more we keep them actively involved in this game, the less likely they’ll be distracted and go other places.”

Sixteen-year-old Micaela Wells said she loves what golf has done for her.

“Golf has kept me connected to my grandfather, cause he loved golf and he played golf,” she said. “We used to play golf together and he has Alzheimer's now.”

Golf is just one option for kids at Mathews-Dickey. To continue this and other programs, the club presents its annual Martin L. Mathews Awards Program and Benefit Concert on August 18 at the Fox Theatre.