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April 24, 2008

The Henrico County Open is truly a regional event, broadcasting on The Golf Channel to 80 million households across the United States, and even further to an international audience. The Tournament is a most effective vehicle to show the entire nation that the Greater Richmond Region is a terrific place to live, work, play, and relocate.

Consistent with this regional approach, on Thursday of Tournament week the Henrico County Open reached out to inner-city Richmond by hosting a unique Junior Skills Clinic, combining traditional golf instruction with valuable life skills. David Maraghy, Executive Director of The Henrico County Open, noted: “The site for this outstanding event was the Downtown First Tee facility located outside Henrico County in the city of Richmond. Unfortunately, this wonderful facility had been devastated by flooding in tropical storm Gaston, and had been closed for a year and a half. Therefore, we decided to use this occasion to create a celebration of the reopening of the Downtown First Tee facility, as well as make a significant donation to the organization.”

The golf portion of the day was headed by Matt Ball, coach of the varsity men’s golf team at Virginia Commonwealth University, who brought his fine team with him to demonstrate and provide instruction. Leading the life skills aspect of the program was nationally renowned psychologist Dr. Steven Danish, Director of The Life Skills Center and Professor of Psychology, Social and Behavioral Health at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Also providing mentoring to the youngsters were varsity athletes from various Virginia Commonwealth University teams, professional golfers, and VCU basketball star, Jamal Shuler, who had never hit a golf ball before today. Jamal’s designated role was to be a good sport by demonstrating to the kids that a superstar in one sport can be humbled by another. In addition, all watching enjoyed sharing a laugh with Jamal as he swung and missed several times!

All the instructors, whether in golf or life skills, are role models for the juniors as examples of achieving success by setting positive goals. During they day the mentors reinforced good behavior and corrected behavior that was not done well.

The focus this day was on three specific skills. First, learning the proper way to introduce yourself to others: look directly at the person; have a firm handshake; and speak clearly and loudly. Next, the participants were asked to think about their best possible sport and career dream; here the mentors shared their dreams when they were the age of the juniors. And finally, the juniors were taught the vital importance of positive self-talk; how the mentors talked to themselves when they were ready to play; or played poorly; or played well.

Over 100 juniors participated in the Clinic, and they received commemorative t-shirts, much-appreciated hot dogs and ice cream, lots of autographs and lasting memories to end a great day.

Junior Clinic Gallery

For More Information Contact:
David Maraghy

© 2008 Sports Management International, LC
David Maraghy 804.874.0835