For nearly 25 years, the organization headed by Dr. T. J. Dorsey, a local dentist, has taught life lessons to minority youth from ages 6 to 18, with 40 earning golf scholarships to help further their education.
As part of its golf coverage on Masters weekend, The Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel highlighted the work of the Orlando Minority Youth Golf Association (OMYGA), which was founded in 1991 by Dr. T. J. Dorsey, a local dentist, in conjunction with the city of Orlando’s Recreation Department and the local Center for Drug-Free Living.
The Sentinel’s coverage described how Sterling Jones, “a thin, 15-year-old girl,” stepped up to the first hole at Dubsdread Golf Course in Orlando at about the same time that Jordan Spieth was preparing to tee off for his final round at Augusta National Golf Club to secure his wire-to-wire win on Masters Sunday.
Jones took two practice swings before the club head hit the golf ball, sending it on a low, line-drive trajectory that ricocheted off the rolling hills to the left of the fairway, the Sentinel reported, thus proving a lesson she had already learned through the exposure to golf that she had gained from the OMYGA program: The “perfect” round ends the minute you take the first swing.
“You never have a perfect round. You will have a bad hole,” the sophomore at Edgewater High School told the Sentinel.
What OMYGA and golf was helping to teach Jones and about 20 other kids on this sunny Sunday afternoon, the Sentinel noted, is what happens after the bad hole. What happens when life turns out to be something other than perfect?
“It’s never going to be perfect, but you strive to be the best you can be,” Jones said.
And her comment confirmed the value of what T.J. Dorsey has been doing for nearly 25 years, the Sentinel noted—using the game of golf, a sport of privilege, to teach life lessons to kids, many of whom come from poor neighborhoods.
Dorsey has lost count of how many kids, ages 6 to 18, have learned the game through OMYGA, the Sentinel reported—a number that now may be as high as three thousand.
But Dorsey knows that 40 of his pupils of life have received a higher education on golf scholarships, including nine who are currently attending college, the Sentinel reported. And he also knows that hundreds more than that have learned discipline, self-confidence and self-motivation, patience and persistence, respect and honesty.
Ten-year-old David Dennis, a fourth-grader, told the Sentinel that he has become a better student since golf taught him how to concentrate.
“I’ve been getting better grades than before,” he said. “You have to concentrate on everything you need to do on golf.”
Abiola Oyewale, a 9-year-old third-grader, started coming to Dubsdread GC when she was 3 and her brothers were learning the game from Dorsey, the Sentinel reported. She’s now in her third year of learning golf, which has taught her the values of consistency and practice—along with the need to back up the trash talk with game.
“I talk a lot,” she said, “but when it comes to skills, I need to work on that.”
Golf has taught Shania Jones, a 16-year-old sophomore at Lake Nona High School, the importance of honesty, because if you cheat at golf, you get disqualified, the Sentinel reported. She has also learned that golf isn’t easy and you shouldn’t expect life to be any different.
“It causes you to remember life isn’t always what you want it to be. It’s a struggle, but it gets better,” she said.
The lack of uniformity in golf also helps the youth in the program relate to how life itself is different every day, the Sentinel reported.
“Every hole is different. Every course is different. Even the weather is different,” said Samuel Gates, 61, who started assisting Dorsey when his kids were taking golf lessons.
Golf also lends itself to helping minority kids find teachers, mentors and adults who care, the Sentinel noted, because “Golf doesn’t come naturally,” as Gates noted, so it lends itself more to relying on others’ instruction and encouragement.
One other thing that Sterling Jones has learned through her exposure to the game, the Sentinel reported, is both a hole in one and a bunker shot come down to individual responsibility. “With golf, it’s only you out there,” she said. “Nobody else can help you.”
Video that accompanied the Sentinel’s report can be viewed at http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/os-sunday-black-kids-golf-20150412-story.html
More about the OMYGA can be found at http://www.omyga.org