Students in Gay Flax’s physical education classes had the opportunity to participate in several new activities this year. Flax teaches at O’Loughlin and Lincoln Elementary schools.
In January, she was awarded a $2,500 grant through NASP, National Archery in the School Program, and Vanderbilt’s donated another $500 to support the program so Flax could purchase the $3,000 kit.
She taught archery to her fourth- and fifth-grade students during the last several months.
“The kids really loved it,” Flax said.
In fact, she showed the program to Hays USD 489 Board of Education members before the latest board meeting.
“I think they really were impressed with how structured it was,” Flax said.
On Tuesday, Flax, along with WaKeeney PE teacher Sean Dreiling and Otis-Bison PE teacher Travis Starr, received her training and certification for SNAG Golf in the O’Loughlin gym.
SNAG stands for Starting New at Golf.
The program is a modified form of golf that is designed to be the best entry-level introduction to the game.
Flax received another grant — this one for $2,000 — from the Midwest PGA for the SNAG program. The O’Loughlin PTA gave $500, and $400 was received from the Lincoln Home and School group. In addition, Beiker Insurance donated another $100 so Flax could purchase the kit for $3,000.
Jeff Burey, the SNAG golf trainer, worked with the teachers from 8 to 10 a.m. and showed them how to teach the program to their students.
At 10 a.m., students from Sarah Smith’s fourth-grade class came in so Burey could show the teachers how to work with the students.
“How many of you have played golf before? What about putt putt?” Burey asked.
While most of the students had played putt putt before, few had experience with the traditional game of golf.
“We are going to start with form, because that’s the foundation,” Burey said. “We have to build a good foundation.”
SNAG uses the science of human learning in its approach to coaching.
Using chromo psychology (use of color), neuro linguistic programming (memory), different learning styles and psycho acoustics (sound), the program makes it easier for the students to process a lot of new information.
Because the program uses moveable targets instead of the traditional greens and holes, the game can be played anywhere and has low-cost entry and participation.
The first step was teaching the students how to properly grip the club.
The launchers (clubs) are marked with a red dot for the right thumb and yellow dot for the left thumb. There also are bull’s-eyes on each club face as well as on the SNAG balls.
Standing inside a clock hoop, the student learns the range of motion required for different types of shots: rolling (putting), pitching and launching (driving).
Burey encouraged the students to cheer for each volunteer as the students took a turn.
“The great thing about golf is it’s one of the only sports where you encourage your competition,” he said. “You just hope that you do better.”
Flax said she enjoys teaching archery and golf because not all kids enjoy coming to PE class.
“They don’t all like doing the team sports like basketball,” Flax said. “These are skills that can be learned and played throughout their entire lives.”
The kids were excited to give it a try, and Flax wasn’t wasting any time.
“We start learning at 12:25 today,” Flax said with a laugh.
The program will be taught to students ages kindergarten through fifth grade.