Golf and STEM? This group combines them to help kids

South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen tees off from the 18th hole during the second round of the British Open Golf Championship at Royal St George's golf course Sandwich, England, Friday, July 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen tees off from the 18th hole during the second round of the British Open Golf Championship at Royal St George's golf course Sandwich, England, Friday, July 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Credit: Peter Morrison

Credit: Peter Morrison

A nonprofit combining STEM and golf that was started in Washington, D.C. by a former Dayton resident has made its way back to Dayton.

Craig Kirby created Golf. My Future. My Game to teach kids about the physics, technology and business aspects of the golf industry while showing them the fundamentals of the sport.

Events were held throughout the month of June in the Dayton region, featuring instruction from PGA professionals and field trips to add more hands-on experience. Kirby hopes his program will open up professional avenues for those who participate.

“The number of jobs in the industry is phenomenal,” he said. “People need to know these opportunities are out there for them. My way of being able to connect that dot is to bring (in) kids, get this game in their toolkit, and they can learn all the other things that come with it.”

The introduction to the game of golf can also strengthen the bonds between parents and their children, according to Kirby.

“It’s special because a lot of (the parents) have never played golf either,” he said. “Now not only are the kids learning to play, but the parents are taking an interest. Now you have a natural time when a parent and a child can spend time together on the golf course.”

Steve Jurick works for the Miami Valley Golf Association and has worked closely with Kirby to help create the program. Everyone involved with Golf. My Future. My Game is dedicated to providing equal opportunities for anyone who wants to get started learning the game, he said.

“We still don’t represent society as a whole yet, and we want to get there,” Jurick said. “We want race to never be a barrier from an entry standpoint.”

Though the sessions for this summer have come to a close, the program is set to expand in the future, with participants meeting twice each week over an eight-month period, Kirby said.

For the children involved, the program has introduced them to new and exciting topics within the world of golf. Roman Wilborne of Beavercreek has especially enjoyed learning about the intersection between golf and physics.

“My favorite part would be learning about the sport of golf,” he said. “I didn’t know much before, but learning about the physics, how they take care of the golf course, every aspect that is put into the golf course to make this thing work, is very interesting to me.”

Similarly, Tyree Wilborne of Beavercreek is grateful for the knowledge he’s gained about all the different career options in the golf industry.

“I’ve learned (about) all the opportunities,” he said. “Not only within the game itself, but the inside jobs that you don’t always talk about.”

Kirby’s work with the charity is reflective of his own experience with the game of golf, as he hopes to give local children the same chances to succeed that golf gave to him when he was younger. To Kirby, the game is all about opportunity.

“You never know where this game can take you, who you’re going to meet, how much fun you’re going to have,” he said. “For me, it’s important that we pique the interest of our kids, that we create a connection to the game through their lens. As I tell people, everybody does better when everybody does better.”