Golf can teach kids not only about how to hit a ball but also about life, according to one Ahwatukee Foothills resident.
Jeff Ritter (of Jeff Ritter Golf) is hoping his new academy can do just that.
Ritter had been working at Arizona State University's Karsten course teaching golf for years before it was taken over by OB Sports. When he was offered a position creating his own academy at the Raven Golf Course it was something he had always dreamed of.
"With ASU, because of the nature of their facility I was always sort of working just for myself, one on one with clients," Ritter said. "My ultimate vision was to have a full-fledged academy with a whole staff of coaches where we could run corporate events, junior golf programs, new player development programs, and incorporate fitness and nutrition, and all the things that would be of value to people and make the academy the place to be.
"I wanted it to be a cool vibe and an exciting experience. The Raven just happened to have the type of facility and support to be able to do that."
The problem was deciding if he had time. Ritter is also a writer and guest speaker. He works for Nike doing junior golf.
It would be a challenge to try and create an academy with the holistic approach he was hoping for.
Eventually, Ritter got word that another instructor, Martin Chuck, was also being considered for the position.
"They were trying to decide who was the best fit to launch this project," Ritter said. "I sort of got wind that they were talking to him and he got wind that they were talking to me. We sort of raised our hands and said ‘Hey, we were best buddies in college.' We were applying for the same job and didn't even know it. We got on the phone and said it'd be really great if we just did something together."
The two combined their already established brands to create Jeff Ritter Golf and Tour Striker Golf Academy, or JRG/TSGA.
Ritter says as he became a coach and was working one on one with students he missed being able to collaborate with other coaches.
This new program gives him the chance to collaborate with other coaches and still be able to teach the little lessons that really inspire him.
"Being at the Raven and being able to incorporate the game, mind, body approach, it's not just about hitting a ball farther it's about inspiring them to be the best they can be off the golf course, as well," Ritter said. "Golf is all about being able to have an intention and seeing how well you respond to not getting what you want.
"That's really what we do in life. We get up in the morning and say, ‘This is how I want my day to go.' We put forth our best effort and sometimes we get what we want, sometimes we don't. It's how we respond to the outcomes in life that allow us to live a happy existence.
"These lessons we talk about, we really try to connect both sides."
Information on the new academy can be found at ravenphx.com/instruction.
Private lessons are now available, but all the other programming is coming in January.
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