Photo credit: A. Bradley-Smith for BK Reader

Free golf lessons in Crown Heights are giving Brooklyn kids the chance to putt their way onto a driving range and learn some new skills.

Aspiring golfers ages 6 -16 can join Coach Laddy Baldwin on Mondays and Wednesdays at St. John’s Park for free lessons organized by the City Parks Foundation. Coach Baldwin, a Brooklyn native, has been coaching golf for 15 years and loves introducing young people to the sport.

Coach Baldwin with a first-timer golfer. Photo credit: A. Bradley-Smith for BK Reader

“Basically we’re trying to teach them how to become independent,” said Baldwin. “We break everything down for them into a routine that’s really easy to follow. And then we see if they can do it independently. Golf is just the tool that we use. We teach them how to learn and how to build confidence.”

Many of the kids who sign up don’t know anything about golf, he explained. But as they practice and stick with it for a while, they gain confidence, start to enjoy themselves and keep coming back.

Like Chandler McGlaurin, for whom the golf lessons have become a stepping stone toward a career. After joining the program at age 8, the 17-year-old is now working as a coach and excited to give back and coach the kids who are starting off — just like she did almost a decade ago.

“I stayed with it because Coach Laddy is a really good coach,” said McGlaurin. “He pushes you and gives you confidence and skills.”

Over the course of the program, the kids show good progression and develop key golf skills. At the end of the program, which runs until August 24, Baldwin takes the golfers to the Junior Golf Center in Bay Ridge, where they can put their skills to the test.

City Parks Foundation offers a variety of borough-wide programs to keep kids busy and fit this summer. For more information, visit cityparksfoundation.org.

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Anna Bradley-Smith

Anna Bradley-Smith is Brooklyn-based reporter with bylines in NBC, VICE, Slate and others. Follow her on Twitter @annabradsmith.

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