CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The First Tee isn't all about learning to play golf and as the season approaches, the West Virginia chapter of the program is beginning to get into full swing.
Josh Bower, who has been the West Virginia Golf Association Director of Development since January, said it's something he enjoys because it involves the development of young people.
"It's a good thing to get involved with kids," said Bower, who is spearheading many of the programs associated with The First Tee. "We teach the nine core values and we help them understand that golf is fun and doesn't have to be competitive."
According to The First Tee website, there have been 7.6 million participants in the program since 1997 in all 50 states and 5,300 elementary schools are offering The First Tee National School Program.
Bower said that 43 out of 45 elementary schools in Kanawha County have implemented the program, which doesn't necessarily mean the students are learning to play golf during phys ed.
They also are learning the nine core values associated with The First Tee: honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment.
"The curriculum was developed by professionals, doctors and those in education," Bower said. "They learn the nine core values before they even pick up a club."
There are spring programs at Brier Patch in Beckley and Coonskin Park in Charleston. Registration is open for the spring session, which features six 90-minute sessions - two per week - at a cost of $75.
The summer program begins June 3, which also features six 90-minute sessions but extends to other areas of the state, including Logan Country Club, Lewisburg Elks, Locust Hill in Charles Town and at Parkersburg's Minibel Par 3 course.