Kids On The Course: PGA Legend Gives Golf Lessons In Maricopa
On a warm Saturday morning at the Southern Dunes Golf Club in Maricopa, a few dozen children practiced their swings at the driving range. They were there to take a lesson from Notah Begay, the retired professional golfer and current Golf Channel commentator who played alongside Tiger Woods.
Begay is the only full-blooded Native American in the PGA. He tours golf courses around the Southwest teaching children the fundamentals of golf because, he says, the sport is good for kids.
"All of the distractions through social media, our devices, all the different platforms that are trying to compete for our time, it’s difficult to get kids to focus for more than 10-15 minutes in a row," he said. "I think golf is a wonderful way to do that."
Young Draven Schatz was there to learn one fundamental golf skill: "How to hit the ball!" he said, before shying away from the microphone. His mom, Amy, stepped in.
"He likes golf," she said. "It's his favorite sport. It's the only sport he wanted to try, and it's opened this whole new world to me."
She said getting to take her son to meet Begay was a great experience.
Begay had to retire from playing due to an injury. Now, he works as a commentator for the Golf Channel and runs the NB3 foundation to help fight obesity and diabetes in Native American youth.
"That’s the future," he said. "It’s why we invest in education, it’s why we take our kids to participate in extracurricular, activities, anything that can pique their curiosity and make them want to commit to a particular activity. That’s what it’s all about."