Jeff Burey and the Midwest Section PGA (Professional Golfers of America) are on a mission to teach the game of golf to kids. “Our game is dying,” said Burey, who managed Wolf Creek Golf Links for 26 years. “We need to grow our game. We have to introduce the game at an early age to the kids.”
PGA professional Matt Murdock added, “Our vision is to introduce the game of golf in the Midwest section. We want to introduce the game of golf to every child.”
The result is the Midwest section PGA’s Golf in School Initiative, called SNAG-a-School.
SNAG stands for Starting New at Golf.
It brought Burey back to Overland Park from Hutchinson, where he retired from managing Prairie Dunes Country Club from 2007 through 2011.
The program started in the Olathe School District in 2011 with the training of the physical education teachers in the district.
“We trained the teachers to teach our game,” Burey said. “We want to reach masses of kids that the game is affordable. And show the teachers that the game is easy to teach and it’s fun and safe.”
The SNAG program contains all of the basic elements of golf, but in a modified form. You might say it falls between miniature golf and regular golf. The program allows for full shots, pitching, chipping and putting.
“The design of the program makes it safe and portable, allowing instruction, practice and play to take place both inside and outside,” Murdock said.
SNAG has its own rules and terminology that makes it fun for the kids to learn and play the game. The Midwest Section PGA purchased all the equipment and other training tools to provide the teachers with the training.
The teachers receive the instructions on SNAG golf and also have the resource of a PGA professional to help them.
This year in the Olathe School District, each school picked several youngsters to represent their school in the Olathe Tournament of Champions. The program has now moved into the Spring Hill and Blue Valley school districts.
A training program for the Blue Valley School District physical education department occurred on Sept. 28.
“Our goal is to introduce the kids to the game of golf,” Burey said. “We want to instill a love of the game.”
Burey, who is in his 60s, noted that golf is a game that can be played for a lifetime. He added that the goal of the Midwest Section PGA is to reach every child in the northern two-thirds of Kansas and from central to western Missouri.