Eye On The Birdie – Post #22 Interview with a Beginning First Tee Participant

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Here begins a special series of posts. I shall interview my younger siblings, all of whom are affiliated with The First Tee in some way or another, but none of them in the same way! That way, I will have brought four unique views to the tiny section of the public who reads this blog! Yay! I am beginning with my youngest brother, who is just beginning to actively participate in The First Tee. In this blog, he will go by Fore. Like what you yell when you send your ball rocketing towards someone’s head. Trust me, it was the best option.

To begin, my mother and I used pretzels to bribe him to cooperate. It worked, which is why I have an interview. The first question we asked him was when he started taking First Tee lessons. He turned to my mom and asked, “How long have I been taking lessons?” The answer was since this summer, at the age of five. He then turned around and repeated this information to me.

Next we asked why Fore had wanted to take First Tee lessons. His prompt, straightforward response was “Because I wanted to.” We never should have asked such a silly question. Then we asked how he knew about the First Tee. He said that he had gone to the First Tee, so we followed up with asking when he learned of the First Tee. He said, “The other summer when I was five.” Then it got little awkward, because we had to correct the interviewee. Anyway, the answer we meant to get was because all three of his older siblings had gone at some point. Then my mom asked him how long he had been going to golf practices he hadn’t participated in. He shrugged, and she said “Ask Birdie.” (That actually wasn’t what she said; she used my real name.) After a little bit of math I discovered he had been dragged to our practices for five summers—his entire life!

After we had the cold, hard facts, we began to ask more personal questions. The first of these was, “What did you like about the First Tee?” (Before he began lessons, that is.) His response was, “Swinging my arms and riding on golf carts.” I do not know where the “swinging my arms” part came from. Then we asked if Fore liked the other kids. This was a rather important question, because as he is homeschooled The First Tee is practically his only social outlet. He said, “They’re pretty nice.” (High praise, I hope. That’s how he describes me, too.) He said he also liked the coaches in the same way. He began to gain enthusiasm when I asked him if he had made any friends. “I made lots of friends,” he said with a happy, self-satisfied grin. Then my mom asked him what he thought of the kids from the older classes, and listed the kids who had helped with his classes. He asked her to say their names again. He said  “Yeah,” and we called it good.

At this point, my mom asked a trick question: “Do you like driving golf carts?” He looked at her with a superior, amused look and said, “I never—I’m five, I can’t drive golf carts!”

We returned to the world of reality with, “Are you going to do the First Tee next summer?” He said decidedly, “Yes.” Anybody who might tell him otherwise will have a tough time! Then I asked what he had learned from the First Tee, and Fore said, “Golfing is fun!” Then I got too philosophical and asked if he had learned anything from the Core Values. After giving this some careful thought, he said confidently, “Out of bounds.” Ah well, maybe next year. We asked him if he thought if all kids should try the First Tee, and he said, “Yes, but not the babies.” However, he thinks five-year-olds could certainly participate.

Then we gave him more free rein, but he said he most definitely could not tell us a story about the First Tee—all he remembered was golfing. Nor could he tell us about a time he went golfing. We switched tracks slightly, and asked him what games he played during his classes. He gave us quite a list: scramble, snag golf, soccer golf, golf baseball, and Frisbee golf.

Of course, nothing’s perfect, so then we asked what his least favorite part of the First Tee was. He said that it was saying which ball you are playing at the beginning of a game. After a couple more questions, we had gotten him to explain that he hated it twice, but we finally figured out it was because it’s hard for him to know what the name of his ball is. (Turns out it’s beneficial to know how to read in golf!)

We then asked if he liked his First Tee homework. He said that he didn’t very much. Our coach gives two kinds of homework—watching golf on TV and practicing swings—so we asked which he liked better. He pantomimed swinging a golf club, meaning he likes the physical practice better. (See, Coach? I told you I wasn’t the only one who doesn’t like watching golf on TV!)        When we inquired if he had enjoyed participating in a fundraiser this summer, he said “Maybe.” It shall forever be a mystery.

We finished by asking, “If a kid your age came up to you and said, ‘Hey, what’s the First Tee,’ what would you say?” The answer he would give this hypothetical kid is, “Golf.” If this kid asked what golf was, he would say, “Swing clubs and hit a ball.” If that kid told him that was boring, he would say, “In my opinion it’s fun.” (He would probably also write that kid off as a crazy person.) I asked him why he thought it was fun, and he said that sometimes you get holes-in-one.

There you have it. My little brother likes the First Tee, does not like saying what ball he’s playing, and thinks the First Tee could be even more fun if you got brownies. I hope this has given you all a better understanding of what the First Tee means to beginner golfers and the five-year-old psyche. Next post, I will be interviewing my other brother who is an intermediate golfer. Stay tuned!



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