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NORTON, Massachusetts – While it will be another few days before Norton sees the Dell Tech champion crowned at TPC Boston, where the annual Labor Day Weekend tournament welcomes the top-100 players in the Fed-Ex Cup Playoff series, nearly 75 junior golfers received a championship experience of their own Wednesday afternoon at the Links at Mass Golf.
As part of its connection to charitable causes in the area, the Dell Technologies Championship once again partnered with The First Tee of Massachusetts to host its annual Youth Golf Day – an afternoon program combining a free skills session for local golfers from across the region with an appearance by a PGA Tour competitor.
For the participants, the afternoon started off with the skills session – featuring various stations where the kids – averaging between the ages of seven and 15 – got to practice a wide variety of scenarios that they might experience out on the golf course. With the group as a whole split into four sections, the young boys and girls were able to get hands on experience practicing their putting, short game, and long game – receiving tips from both the Links at Mass Golf professional staff, as well as the more than a dozen volunteers on site who oversaw the program, which has been in existence since Norton first began hosting the Labor Day Weekend championship in 2003.
Following the hour long skills session, the kids were welcomed by PGA Tour professional Joel Dahmen – who enters this weekend’s championship ranked No. 76 in the Fed Ex Cup playoff standings and has earned three top-10 finishes this season.
Dahmen, a 30-year old originally from Washington State, spent the second half of the program speaking to the attendees on how the many fundamentals that The First Tee program is teaching kids now helped shape him into becoming a professional golfer. While taking questions from the audience, the former University of Washington golfer also got to try out the par-3 course, which is owned and operated by Mass Golf and is the home center for The First Tee of Massachusetts programming.
Having once been in the same shoes as many of the kids who were looking up to him on Wedneday, Dahmen was grateful to be included in this experience.
“We didn’t have the First Tee growing up, but I was fortunate enough to go to a couple of similar things,” said Dahmen on the importance of taking the time to give back to the community in events such as Dell Technologies Youth Golf Day. “It was called the Frey Meyer Challenge, which is in Portland, Oregon, and is the type of clinic and it was a huge impact on me, and I always wanted to do what they did. They were great to me, they took time out of their day to help me out and teach me some things. To do this means so much to me. The game has given me so much. The game has given me pretty much everything I have. To try and give back to the game and these young kids, who are very impressionable, is awesome.”
In addition to taking questions, Dahmen had the opportunity to speak about his career leading up to this weekend’s tournament, as well as to highlight some of the sacrifices he had to make, the challenges he had to overcome, and the hard work he continues to put in in order to find success in his career. He even was able to give some advice to as to how these kids could someday find similar success making it in professional golf, or any other profession they might desire.
“Very rarely can you just pick up a golf club and start hitting,” said Dahmen, who also played on the PGA Tour Canada, the Web.Com Tour and the PGA Tour Latinoamérica before making it to the PGA Tour. “I’d say be patient, be willing to work hard at it and I think that what you put into the game, you will get out of the game. If you want to go on to play in college or to play on your high school team, you’re going to have to put in some time, but it is very rewarding as well.”
Dahmen was very generous in his time, even giving a shot demonstration before signing autographs and taking photos with all participants in attendance. Beginning Friday, he’ll be paired with Charley Hoffman and Michael Kim for the first and second round of the 2018 Dell Technologies Championship, taking place at TPC Boston in Norton. He’ll tee off at 9:27 a.m. on the 10th tee Friday.
Mass Golf is extremely grateful for the generosity of both Joel Dahmen and the entire Dell Technologies staff who helped make the annual Youth Golf Day a success, as well as all volunteers who assisted in the efforts to once again make the event a reality. For more information about The First Tee of Massachusetts, visit: thefirstteemass.org.