Ruth Weydig, the 2012-2016 PGA Central New York Section Youth Player Development Award recipient, is the PGA Head Golf Professional at the Oneida Community Golf Club, in Oneida, New York. She is also a U.S Kids Certified Golf Instructor.
Ruth Weydig on the importance of focusing on volunteerism and community service:
Introducing the game to today’s youth is the key to ensuring the game is strong and vibrant well into the future. In 2011, I started volunteering time during the cold upstate New York winters, teaching golf to local elementary school kids. That first year I had two schools on my agenda; today I have eight schools, and almost 2,000 school-aged children that I teach in their physical education classes and during after school intramurals programs. With donated clubs that I cut down, donated carpet pieces that I use as hitting surfaces, and my own donated time, this philanthropic venture is aimed to bring a whole new generation of golfers to the game. To help motivate the kids to learn and improve, I started the “Challenge Cup Matches” in 2012 to provide competitive opportunities for kids who show a love for the game, a dedication to improvement, and a desire to compete. With financial assistance from a local businessman, we provide tee shirts to the participants so they feel part of a team. Six kids participate per school and today we have almost fifty players per competition. These matches are followed up by our All Star Challenge, when one player from each school represents his or her team in a head to head competition for “medalist honors”. Finally, I arrange a night at the golf dome at Turning Stone Casino, a well-known golf facility in my area of upstate New York. The kids are brought by their parents and hit real balls in a real golf environment. This is another method of motivating the kids to learn while instilling the greatness of the game in them. Through this unique golf in schools program, we are making golf relevant to kids who may otherwise not had opportunity to play.
Ruth Weydig on the business impact of focusing on volunteerism and community service:
Community service in itself is a positive thing to people in any walk of life. In that light, I gage the effects that my involvement in schools has on my course revenues and lesson business each year. It helps increase participation in my summer camps with a quarter of summer campers having learned the game from me in their own school gyms. Also, we implemented a student membership that allows school-aged kids the opportunity to play all season for $300. Almost two dozen youth golfers took advantage of this relatively new program in 2017. Finally with more kids playing at our course each year, we were able to form a PGA Junior League team in 2014. We had ten kids play that year; that figure has doubled in a few short years. Our careers as golf professionals often depend on positive numbers and forward progress. In a seasonal area of the country, I am fortunate to have some down time each year. Our efforts in schools change the lives of the same kids my own son calls his classmates. That endeavor has grown over the years and is proof that doing for others comes back to you in many ways.
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