Kids growing up in the city are rarely exposed to golf — but a program in Harlem is changing that. Its goal is to use the game to help improve the lives of young African-American men. NY1's Roger Clark has the story.
These kids from the Eagle Academy public school in Harlem are swinging for success at the YMCA, working on their golf game indoors before they hit the links.
"It's a life-changer program," said Zion Smith an eighth grade student at Eagle Academy. "Especially for us. Especially for people in Harlem."
The Bridge Golf Foundation is helping these kids get into the sport. They've been gathering at the Harlem Y after school and on Saturdays learning the finer points of the game - in a few weeks they will move to the foundation's new center on West 117th Street to practice with high-tech golf simulators.
The Bridge Golf Foundation was founded just over a year ago by former Wall Streeter Bob Rubin and longtime Golf writer Farrell Evans — who met, where else? — on a golf course.
"We want to give an opportunity and be inclusive," Evans said. "For so long the game has been very exclusive. And so that's a part of our mission is making this game accessible."
"There are very few such facilities in New York and they all tend to be a lot further downtown and so this is a natural stop for a big part of Manhattan golfers," Rubin said. "And the whole idea is to mix people together."
The new center will be open to the public when the after-school programs are not in session.
The young students' lessons won't be limited to just golf, there is also STEM: science, technology, engineering and math instruction for students. That has a connection to golf, too.
"In golf specifically, the mechanics of the swing can certainly be improved by a knowledge of physics," said STEM program leader Veeshan Narinesingh.
Not to mention those fun state-of-the-art simulators where you can practically smell the green.
"We can use swing analysis, we can send data, feedback, video, we can interact with students, send reports," said teacher Brian Hwang.
To find out more about the Bridge Golf Foundation just head to their website.