Originally created 09/15/99

National golf group attempts to raise level of youth golf coaches



Through his National Association of Golf Coach Educators Program, Bill Madonna is trying to shine a ray of light on the Georgia youth.

Madonna, one of Golf magazine's 100 Top Teachers, co-founded the NAGCE program in 1997. Now, with the program based out of Augusta, Madonna and his associates are trying to raise $3 million to teach 500 programs on the high school, middle school and youth organization levels throughout Georgia.

"The purpose of NAGCE is to reach the youth of the country through teaching their teachers," said Ernie Boshers, NAGCE program manager. "Our motto is `Training those who impact golf's future."'

A steering committee headed by chairman Pete Scott has formed a Georgia committee of 100 people who have pledged $1 million for the program.

"The purpose is to have people with contacts throughout the state," Scott said. "All of the guys I have selected are well-versed in golf."

However, many golf coaches are not well-versed in golf. That's where the NAGCE program comes in, Boshers said.

"We teach the coaches, the P.E. teachers and the counselors across the nation how to operate a program, how to run a program effectively," he said. "We feel that it's going to benefit the youth of the nation by instilling those values that golf instills -- honesty, integrity, respect, sportsmanship."

The youth of Bermuda will soon benefit from NAGCE. Boshers recently returned from the island nation. He said the program sent over 8,000 pounds of training aids for 19 schools there.

"They had contacted us and said, 'We want your program. We'll pay for it. When can you come?"' Boshers said. "It was an unbelievably huge project."

And now NAGCE will try to develop its program throughout the Southeast.

"From here, it'll grow outward," Boshers said. "We'll complete Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. We'll just start here and go throughout the country.

Madonna was out of town and unavailable for comment.

REACH

Chris Gay at (706) 868-1222 orcag112@hotmail.com