Pizza Pizza Hockey Festival

Hockey and Golf: Always a Good Combination

This past weekend Ryan and I volunteered at the one hundred and ten team OMHA Pizza Pizza Hockey festival at Iroquois Park. In conjunction with the GAO and the Mr. Knickers - Golf in Schools Program, we had a golf booth set up for kids to try golf utilizing the ultra-kid friendly Snag Golf equipment.

Upon arrival on Friday at 9:30, I have to admit I was very worried we might have a slow weekend at our booth, as we had some major competition to deal with; this being a massive jumping castle and a series of other really cool and fun activities for kids.

Boy was I ever wrong to worry. In 18 hours of work over three days, Ryan and I put 500 plus kids through our golf booth. It was a very rewarding weekend as we exposed the game to so many kids.

I want to share some of my observations and learning experiences from this weekend in this edition of Coach’s Corner:

An introduction to the game: “Show me your best slap shot with a golf club!”

 “Have you ever golfed before”?

This was our first question to each kid after we gave them a massive high five and asked them for their name. To my surprise roughly 50 percent of kids had not played. Being at a hockey tournament the next steps were easy:

 “What way do you shoot in hockey?” followed by “Show me your best slap shot technique.”

With the slap shot as a reference point, we would move their hands closer together and work on a longer and smoother arc, and then simply let them swing away and have fun. Ryan and I were both amazed at the successes for the many beginner golfers that came through our booth.

Lots of Lefties!

There was a time when it was next to impossible to find left handed equipment due to the overwhelming majority of players playing from the right side. That time is over….Left handed golfers outnumbered right handers 2:1 in our booth over the weekend. I don’t think our booth was an anomaly; we attribute this shift to the majority of hockey players having a left handed shot. I foresee some very good lefties from Canada out on the PGA Tour in ten years or so.

Back for some more: “Repeat Visitors!”

As I said earlier, we had to contend with some serious competition in the OMHA fun zone on the weekend. Competing against a jumping slide would be like me playing in a PGA Tour event against the best players in the world…..sadly the jumping slide usually wins. However, in this particular case, we as the underdog held our own. We were amazed at how many kids returned for more golf over, and over, and over again. Our booth was one of the hottest activities in the fun zone. Junior golf was very much alive this weekend at Iroquois Park!

Overall, it was a spectacular weekend and my bruised hand is slowly healing from all the high fives that I gave out. Thank you to the GAO and tournament organisers for this tremendous opportunity!

The weather is finally turning; Masters Week is here. The Inaugural Season for Geared to Golf is underway. Life is good.

Cheer for Canadians Mike Weir and Graham Delaet and enjoy the Masters everybody. We hope see you all on the practice tee or golf course very soon!



Jake and Ryan



Ryan StarrComment