Clubs partner to teach golf, tennis

Published 10:58 am Saturday, June 27, 2009

FRANKLIN— When you ask a young person what their favorite sport is, you probably won’t hear them say golf or tennis.

However, Cypress Cove Country Club and the Franklin unit of the Boys & Girls Club are teaming up to try and change perceptions of the two sports among young people.

The two clubs are teaming up this summer to provide tennis and golf lessons to dozens of children for free, thanks to help from Franklin-Southampton Charities.

The idea for the program came after Cypress Cove’s Board of Directors noticed a decline in the number of young people interested in playing golf, and soon the scope of the program was widened to include tennis. Two golf and three tennis camps will be offered this summer to children between the ages of 8-14.

“We are honored to be able to participate,” said John Mack, director of the Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Virginia. He said that it will help teach “the art of sportsmanship” as well as help academically.

“Math is a critical part of golf,” he said, referring to the scorekeeping aspect. “The same thing is true with tennis.”

Danny Morgan, a golf professional from Cypress Cove attributes the downturn in interest from young people to the popularity of computers and technology.

“It’s changed the way they participate in athletics,” he said.

Morgan also said that sports like golf and tennis could have other advantages for the children involved.

“Kids on the golf course don’t get in trouble,” he said.

Cypress Cove President Jay Lee said that parents often push their children towards more “traditional” team sports like baseball, basketball and football because of their accessibility. However, he said that golf and tennis have become more accessible.

“Every high school has tennis courts and golf teams,” he said.

Despite the fact that golf and tennis have become more accessible to average people, the two sports still carry upper-class connotations.

“It’s just breaking down the perception,” said Ken Cussick, a tennis pro at the YMCA. “I would say 20 years ago it was elite, but not anymore.”

According to Cussick, tennis and golf are important networking tools in the business world and the opportunity to come to a country club could give the children something to aspire to.

“The chance to come to a country club gives them a different social structure,” he said. “They can say ‘I want to be a part of that.’”

Golf and tennis are also unique because they can be played from a young age well into adulthood.

“They’re both lifetime sports,” Cussick said. “There are not too many 55-year-old football players or even soccer.”