Jobe Publishing, Inc.
Glasgow’s Johnny Belcher is well-known as a Glasgow high school coach and counselor. However, in retirement he’s focused on educating youngsters in one of his favorite pastimes; Golf.
Tee the Green is an organization founded by Belcher and some anonymous donors in 2009, which teaches children the joys and strategies of golfing. They meet at Willow Oaks in Glasgow, which offers the course for the program.
“I don’t necessarily want to make high school or college golfers out of them, but somewhere down the road they’ll want to play,” said Belcher.
The group, grades 2-8, meets each Monday throughout the summer and each year the group takes a mini-field trip to Barren River Lake State Park. Many returns year after year.
In addition to Belcher, many mentors participate in the program including.
“When I see a kid hit the ball and get it air-born for the first time, that’s the moment I know why I do it,” Belcher said.
“The things the kids say always makes me want to come back and do this one more year, they are funny and a joy. It’s the little things they do and say that keep me doing this year after year.”
But it’s not just about the little things, it’s about the big things too. Belcher sees the game of golf in the game of life has been very similar.
“I’ve never had a golfer turn bad. All the years I’ve coached golf, they have all been professionals and they do well in life. I’ve told the school system, if you want good test scores, teach golf. Because it teaches self-discipline. It’s the only game you call penalty on yourself.”
He is proud of the opportunity it gives to participants.
“It is free. We have participants from the Boys and Girls Club every year,” said Belcher.
“If kids know something about golf they are more likely to get hired in a Professional setting. It gives them opportunity,” he added.
The children don’t realize they’re being taught the game of life, only the game of golf, and I have a lot of fun in the process.
For example, one Glasgow child, seven-year-old Wilky, said that he can “learn how to hit the ball far.” He added that he was already a good golfer, but now he is better.
After 13 years, Belcher says he doesn’t know how much longer he will be able to lead Tee the Green into the future, but he plans to do it as long as he can.
“It’s the kids that keep me going,” he said.
Anyone interested in participating can get an application to the school system, or reach out to Mr. Belcher.