“A mixture of challenge and fun:” Golf is giving a group of middle school students a unique experience

Golf is giving a group of middle school students a unique experience

Students at Harriet Tubman School of Excellence practicing their putting skills. (Photo/ Jeremiah Lockett)

The first time Harriet Tubman School of Excellence (HTSE) founder Jeremiah Lockett golfed, he was confident since he was a multiple sport athlete growing up. What he found was a little harder than he was expecting.

“It was the hardest thing ever just going to the driving range and trying to hit that ball and do it in a way that had a purpose,” Lockett said.

But over time, he fostered a love for the sport, and now he offers a golf program at his middle school to introduce students to a sport he believes has a lot to offer.

In HTSE’s third year, Lockett partnered with First Tee Indiana to bring his program to the school, offering their fifth through eighth grade students a unique sports experience.

Lockett added golf in his middle school because “too often I believe our children, particularly our black boys, are shuffled into football and basketball, and they’re not even given the opportunity to explore other sports they can excel in.”

The program provides his students with tools to flourish on the course and in real life.

Golf is new to most of his students and their families, and so he wanted to ensure all students were getting the proper training and basics of the sport before playing.

That’s why his program works with First Tee Indiana, a national organization “building Game Changers by empowering kids and teens through golf,” according to their website.

The first tee instructors work with students at the Federick Douglass golf course every Monday for around an hour, giving them drills to learn how to hold the clubs, take the proper stance and swing.

“I would say it’s a mixture of challenge and fun,” Lockett said. He said the instructors do a good job creating activities that challenge students while still being fun.

The challenge golf offers is another reason Lockett added golf to his “menu” of sports at HTSE. He said golf helps with societal maneuvering and self-discovery.

“My job is to equip every scholar with the ability to maneuver in society, and you know, the old adage is deals are made on the golf course,” Lockett said.

Golf pushes his students to be well-rounded at a young age. They get a classroom and societal education by being able to speak about golf and play for fun or business.

Seventh grader Krishawn George has played football and basketball his entire life, so golf has been a new but welcomed challenge. He said it wasn’t hard when he started, but you have to learn it.

He’s been able to learn, though. George said the consistency, balance and focus needed for golf are also things he has to have in basketball and football. It helped him get started.

The mindfulness Lockett said golf offers will help students in the classroom and outside for their entire lives. Students often struggle when first starting, but those struggles lead to growth.

“If you miss the first time, gather yourself, have composure and try it again,” Lockett said. “We teach our young people to persevere and push through in the classroom. Well, that has to translate on the golf course as well.”

Fifth grader Kennedy Fisher is now in her second year in the HTSE golf program. Before she started, she already knew a little about golf, but now she knows all the clubs and how to use them.

Fisher enjoys the program because it has been a new journey for her. For people on the fence about starting golf, Fisher said, “It’s okay to start new things. It might be a little bit difficult but keep on trying again.”

Contact Racial Equity Reporter Garrett Simms at 317-762-784.