MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Before they were Division I golfers, every student-athlete on the WVU golf roster spent hours and hours practicing and learning the game from mentors.
Now, through a partnership with First Tee West Virginia, the Mountaineers are stepping into a different role as they share their sport with a younger generation.
“We all started there,” said Olivier Menard, a freshman golfer from Quebec, Canada. “There’s a lot of people that helped me get to this point, and to give back, it feels awesome.”
WVU golf coach Sean Covich said his team leads community outreach projects every year, and partnering with First Tee to share expertise in the sport with local children was a “natural fit.”
“It’s important for our guys to give back, whatever that is,” Covich said. “Being on a Division I team — whether it’s the golf team, football team, basketball team — really means a lot and is a special place within the community.”
First Tee West Virginia is a chapter of a national organization dedicated to teaching kids how to golf, sharing lessons about sportsmanship and introducing them to other young people who share similar interests. Brenda Moran, a coach with First Tee West Virginia, said the partnership with WVU golf has been positive.
“The kids love having the WVU golf team and coaches here,” Moran said. “They’re great mentors and great role models for the kids, and they learn a lot from them as well.
It’s not just fun for the young golfers — Covich’s players look forward to these outings, too.
“It seems like the West Virginia University golf team enjoys it as much as the kids,” Moran said.
And maybe, one of these young local golfers will fall in love with the game.
“Who knows,” Covich said, “the next Mountaineer could be out here playing golf.”