MISSOULA – Usually kids pick up their first golf clubs alongside a family member or friend, but many never get a chance to try out the game. The KPAX Youth Sports Spotlight found one organization in Missoula trying to change that.
Joey Esh is a PGA professional who recently started the Western Montana Golf in Schools organization that aims to introduce golf to elementary schools kids ages 8-10. He started in Lewiston, Idaho, reaching up to 2,400 kids there before bringing the program to Montana.
“There’s a stat that shows if you’re introduced to the game of golf between the ages of 8-10 you’re twice as likely to play the game when you’re an adult,” said Esh. “So, looking at long-term objectives, a way to grow the game, introducing golf into the schools is a great way to do it.”
The western Montana program teed up for the first time last week at Franklin Elementary school, where more than 205 kids were introduced to the game.
Moving forward, Esh said the main goal is keeping kids interested in the game, and the more programs like this in the state, the more the game will grow.
“We have a lot of great PGA golf professionals that are doing great programs for junior golf to get them exposed to the game,” added Esh. “And if we’re going to continue to grow our game, we need to get more kids and more ladies, more golfers the opportunity to get out and play the game and learn how to play it the right way.”
Esh will take his program next to Lowell Elementary in Missoula starting next week.