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Monroe D. Preston
USGTF Level III Member, Farmville, Virginia

I am a self-taught golfer with a USGA/VSGA 8.4 handicap index. I never had a formal lesson until I was certified in 2005 as a USGTF instructor. Bob Wyatt was the examiner.

Other than me, all the participants had formal lessons, were professional instructors, or were golf coaches. I had played a lot of golf with lots of very good players. I was always watching and asking questions. I played lots of fundraising golf tournaments as well as many amateur tournaments. I believe this is why I finished third in the playing ability test.

You see, in high school I was a running back on the football team. In 1970, a friend and VISTA co-worker (Eric Reese and Russ Sellers) taught me how to play tennis. After graduating high school in 1969, it was four whole years before I attended the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in 1973. The number-one tennis player (Doug Younger) took me under his wing. With hard work and his assistance, I was granted a tennis scholarship my second year, and by my senior year I was the number-one player and captain of the tennis team.

It was about 1978 that I began playing golf. Around 1984, Australian Tour professional David Graham talked me into playing amateur tournament golf. I credit, along with Graham, Mack Mann (professional) and Milton Word (scratch golfer) as my inspiration and developers of my golf experience. I learned a lot from them and always wanted to take a formal lesson from them, but we never took the time. They were always willing to play with me no matter how bad I played. I want to thank them and give back. Early in my life I was taught that it was my responsibility to pay back people who had helped me in life by helping someone else.

In 2006, I offered to give free golf lessons to any juniors or any members of the Beulah AME Church. At this time, I was introducing golf to the Youth Empowerment Program. I approached Greg Smith, owner of Brookleigh Country Club, about integrating the Youth Empowerment Program with the Brookleigh Junior Golf Program for kids. We are in our third year and average about 20 kids a year.

I will never forget how proud I was when Greg introduced me as a certified USGTF teaching professional. My goal is to teach good fundamentals, rules, and most of all, enjoyment. We have a junior golf tournament every year that the juniors really enjoy.

I thank God for all these experiences and for the people that influence my blessed life.

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