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Olympic Games inspire young golfers at First Tee of Siouxland

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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - This Friday, after a one-year pandemic pause, the opening ceremonies get underway for the Tokyo Olympics.

There are many sports in the Olympics, and one of the favorites is golf. It can be a tough sport to master, but a fun sport to practice and try to improve.

“It’s a hard sport to learn, and it’s actually fun once you get to know what you’re doing, and you get to make a lot of new friends when you’re out golfing every day," said Ashton Foister, a student at First Tee of Siouxland.

"I just love playing golf. I've been playing it since I was three, and it's just kind of my thing where you can get away and just have fun," said Rhyker Pickinpaugh, a student at First Tee of Siouxland.

And for only the second time since 1904, golf will be one of the sports competitors will be trying to win gold at in the Olympics.

For the younger golfer trying to get to the Olympics someday, First Tee of Siouxland is coaching 575 students this year, teaching kids golf, and life lessons.

'The First Tee is a national organization. We’re a youth development organization first and foremost. Our hook is to bring kids into the game of golf and then teach life skills,” said Jeremy Pigg, executive director of First Tee of Siouxland.

“There's putting drills, chipping drills, driving, irons, pretty much every drill you can have…and then communication skills also. It helps a lot with that,” said Foister.

Programs like First Tee teach kids the skills they need to play long into the future, maybe even in the Olympics.

"Just be representing their country, that would be really interesting," said Cara Patrick, a coach at First Tee of Siouxland. "See how cool it would be to be actually good enough to go out and represent and go out and be good enough to actually represent and do something good for our nation and put a title on it and be able to bring home the gold, or bronze, or silver, or whatever you get. That would just be such an honor."

Besides learning about golf, they also learn about proper etiquette like how to shake hands and introduce yourself.
Skills that will help them in life, even if they are not an Olympian.

You can watch the Olympic Opening Ceremony live starting at 5:55 a.m. Friday on KTIV. But, if you'd like to sleep in and watch the ceremony in its entirety later in the day, you can catch it in prime-time Friday starting at 6:30 p.m. on KTIV.

Ron Demers

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