How did you get involved with The First Tee?
BG: A friend of mine asked me to volunteer at a tournament at TPC East Bay. Someone I met there suggested that if I was interested in volunteering I should reach out to Diablo Creek, which I did. Then one thing led to another and in no time I was assisting with Coach Bob.
What have First Tee participants taught YOU?
BG: Patience and appreciation. Patience while they gather themselves and appreciation when they celebrate their successes while having fun at the same time.
What would you tell a parent who was thinking of enrolling their junior into a class at The First Tee?
BG: That’s easy: Come and see us in action! Join one of our classes, either as a guest, or by signing up. I think juniors will have a great time while also learning the game of golf.
What is the best thing about being a coach?
BG: My experience has been mostly with the younger juniors; most of them start with zero knowledge of golf skills, so it’s very rewarding to see them grow in both knowledge and skill and realize that I have helped deliver some of that knowledge
What is a hobby or something you do that might surprise other coaches or The First Tee participants?
BG: I’d like to share something that I did, not that I do any longer; but I completed two Iron Man thriathlons in Hawaii in 1985 and 1988. For those who don’t know, the Iron Man is a 2.4-mile open-water swim, followed by a 112-mile bike ride, followed by a 26.2-mile marathon. It was a long day [laughs.] The 1985 Iron Man took me 15 hours and 10 minutes, and the 1988 Iron Man took me 13 hours 35 minutes.
How would your players describe you as a coach?
BG: Hopefully as a fun guy who is also a good teacher [laughs]
What is your favorite golf club in your bag and why?
BG: My favorite club is a 6-iron hybrid, and it’s my favorite because it works more often than the rest of the clubs in my bag [laughs].
LD: Now the opposite, what is your least favorite club?
BG: My putter, because I can’t make it work [chuckles]
What is one strategy you use to keep participants engaged?
BG: I attribute this to Coach Lucio, so I’d say the attention cues. Sometimes there are juniors who are entertained and not exactly paying attention, so what he does is ask them to perform an action (“touch your head if you can hear me” ) so that they can come back to the class and listen to what we’re talking about. I would say that’s a strategy I would also use.
What is your favorite game or activity to implement during class?
BG: I personally like team putting games, but the kids really like to hit the ball with their driver.
LD: Nice, For the team putting games, can you give me an example?
BG: Those games that teach distance control, use a lot of string [laughs]; putting closest to the hole without going in, or the tic-tac-toe grid.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
BG: In the two years I’ve been volunteering, I’ve had the real pleasure of working with three great people who are a compliment in every aspect to The First Tee; they are Coach Bob, Coach Jamie, and Coach Lucio.
Coach Bill will be coaching the PLAYer level at Boundary Oak Golf Course for the upcoming Summer Session
Thank you Coach Bill!