FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --Golf isn't an easy sport and not all schools offer it. But one local program is helping kids tee off, and they're learning life lessons along the way.
Davis Borrego is hooked on the game of golf.
"I've improved a lot in my short game, especially chipping."
The 17-year-old picked up his first club at the age of seven. His best score is a 73, but he's gaining more on the fairway. He has values like patience and perseverance.
"You know, if you miss a short putt you kind of have to say, 'oh, it's in the past. What am I going to do next?' And go onto the next hole and forget about it," said Borrego.
Borrego and other kids at Riverside Golf Course are learning life lessons like honesty and respect through the program called the First Tee of Fresno.
"If you teach a child to look somebody in the eye, shake hands firmly, speak clearly, smile, it's amazing how that changes their outlook on life. And you can teach that to a seven-year-old, we teach it to four, five, and six-year-olds," said Mike Firpo, The First Tee of Fresno Exec. Director.
The First Tee has more than 160 chapters nationwide and each year impacts 25,000 kids in the Central Valley.
Marvin Wiggs is a lead coach and has helped bring the sport to middle school students in Southeast Fresno.
"It's a game of honesty. It's a game of integrity. It teaches you to be humble, it teaches you humility, it teaches you confidence. True confidence comes from learning from losing," said Wiggs.
Kahlin and Kahlil Martin are getting the hang of it.
"I had never played golf in my life, but now it's really fun," said Kahlin.
"It does help in school a lot because it really kept me focused," said Kahlil.
If money is a barrier, the First Tee of Fresno has a solution. Fifty-percent of its students are on scholarship.
Finding the next masters champion isn't the goal.
"I don't care whether or not if you become a golfer, I want you to become a good person and take golf with you later on. Because at some point, when you become a good person and get a great job, somebody's gonna play golf and at least you have some exposure to it," said Wiggs
Sportsmanship is certainly the name of the game because learning to lose is necessary.
"You're gonna lose a whole lot more than you're ever gonna win in this game," said Wiggs.
And being patience will eventually pay off.
"When you hit that good shot you want to hit it again, you want to keep playing and trying. I would say don't ever stop golfing," said Borrego.