SALINAS >> Here’s one of the things Dayanara Beltrán has learned about golf: if you’re mad, you can hit the ball harder.
But that’s not the only thing she’s learned by playing the sport.
“I have to respect my surroundings and pick up trash even if nobody is looking,” Dayanara said. “And if I meet new people I have to shake their hands.”
Dayanara, 12, has only been playing golf for three years but she’s already skilled at putting. She’s among 200 students attending a summer camp at The First Tee of Monterey County at the Twin Creeks Golf Course in Salinas.
“We try to teach them life skills with golf,” said Nick Nelson, executive director of the nonprofit. “That’s why we have stations in each at each hole.”
While The First Tee summer camp is mostly focused on golf, students also participate in other activities such as soccer, baseball, horseback riding and tennis thanks to partnerships the nonprofit has developed with other organizations. The golf lessons are also centered around The First Tee’s nine core values: honesty, integrity, respect, sportsmanship, perseverance, confidence, responsibility, judgement and courtesy.
Several of these values can be encapsulated in a practice you’ll often hear mentioned throughout the golf course.
“Remember: stay behind the safety cones,” coach Oscar Pioquinto tells his beginning students.
It’s a lesson that Lily Weaver, 7, has learned well.
“Don’t get too close when you’re hitting the golf ball because if you do, you could hurt a person,” she said.
The First Tee of Monterey County had managed the Twin Creeks golf course in…
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