By John Burton
TINTON FALLS – While, none of the participants were ready to take on Tiger Woods just yet, a little putting practice fun seemed to suit them just fine.
The young students at the Goddard School, 4 Hartford Dr., had a chance on a glorious summer morning to glean a lesson from Joe Ginger, a retired Professional Golfers Association (PGA) pro.
The preschool childcare franchise has students from infants to kindergarten age, and Ginger took on the task of instructing 4- and 5-year-olds.
The youngsters putted on the school’s faux turf playground lawn using bright green child-size plastic clubs. They tried to aim fuzzy orange, red and purple tennis balls at a bulls-eye on a target. Like many golfers, most were a bit off the mark but for one little boy, when he hit the target, it was all smiles.
“It’s hard to teach them much at this age,” Ginger said.
Ginger offered his young students the basics of putting and ensured they were gripping the club in the right manner.
“Hopefully, it’ll get them interested” in the game at some point, he said. “They’re all excited” for a chance with the clubs.
Ginger, 71, Brick, was a PGA pro from 1965 until he retired about 10 years ago. During the last four years he’s been participating in the Golf in Schools program through the New Jersey Golf Foundation, the charitable arm of the New Jersey PGA Section.
Ginger travels around the state offering his expertise to students about the game he loves, having visited more than 100 schools in the last four years.
“The joy is just watching them,” he said, as children in brightly colored clothing attempted to hit the ball.
Graceann Carhart, who owns and operates the school, which has about 150 students, thought golf lessons would be a fun learning experience for the children.
“It teaches patience and calculations,” she said.
It’s a wonderful game, she added.
“I don’t agree with Mark Twain that it’s a good walk spoiled,” she said. “It’s a beautiful way to spend a day.”