Nowadays, it seems almost everyone has a GPS to navigate their way to their destination, and golfers are no exception. Students in and around Phoenix, Arizona (the Valley), have access to their own GPS when it comes to learning golf – Golf Program in Schools.
USGTF Certified Golf Teaching Professional Larry Gantverg of Phoenix is involved in the program, and he says, “This excellent non-profit organization is bringing no-cost golf instruction to public schools as part of the school’s physical education pro-gram. The program takes five days, and in 175 minutes I am able to teach the pre-shot routine including grip, full-shot irons, full-shot drivers, as well as pitching and chipping. This instruction is accomplished using mats and rubber balls in the gym of the school.” Instruction is primarily geared towards students in the ninth grade, but has also been taught to those as young as in the sixth grade.
A similarity to The First Tee program is that GPS imparts character lessons to students involved in the program, named “PATH” – persistence, achievement, trustworthiness and health. It is a long-held belief among many golf teaching professionals that the game is a well-suited vehicle for imparting life lessons, and GPS takes advantage of that belief in using golf to do just that.
Part of the mission of GPS, in addition to introducing kids to golf, involves educating them in regard to golf-related careers, giving them a sport they can play for a lifetime, and informing them about available golf scholarships. According to its website, “GPS addresses so much more than just learning to play golf. By exposing students to the numerous opportunities for success, we intend to instill a positive vision. We want all students to develop their own unique talents and abilities and ‘find their way’ through life by making positive healthy choices.”
Gantverg, a USGTF member since 2014, is an enthusiastic advocate of the program, saying, “This excellent non-profit organization is bringing no-cost golf instruction to public schools as part of the school’s physical education program. I have a very unusual teaching method, using toys and tools which I call totems, representing aspects of the golf swing, thus allowing replication of exactly the same golf instruction by more than one teacher.” Gantverg is also a member of the advisory board of GPS.
GPS, a non-profit organization, is seeking volunteers to continue its mission. USGTF members who reside in the Valley and are interested in volunteering may find more information on the website www.GolfPS.org.