Since his stepfather introduced him to golf when he was six years old, Anthony Nieuwsma loved the game. Combining that with his 21 years of experience as a youth pastor, it was a natural fit for him to volunteer as a coach for First Tee — Central Iowa.
When the program started at the Grinnell College Golf Course, General Manager, Shane Hart, was looking for volunteers. The curriculum of First Tee consists of charactering-building values, goal-setting, empowerment, personal growth, and the game of golf. Nieuwsma was a perfect candidate to help with the program.
“I like the emphasis on the nine core values. They’re important in the game and in life.” Nieuwsma explains. “We introduce a different value or two each day of instruction and it’s reinforced at each practice station, classroom time, and on the course.”
Having recently moved into the Lead Pastor role at Grinnell Friends Church, Nieuwsma always felt the need to connect with the community. Being a First Tee coach was another way to do just that. The fact his children are now old enough for them to participate in the program allows for some extra family time – an added bonus.
When asked about a memorable coaching story, Nieuwsma recalled an eighth-grade student who had been with First Tee as long as he has been coaching. “He’s not one of the cool kids at school. Being quick to anger, some of the others took advantage of ‘pressing his buttons.’ I’ve seen him grow up a bit in the last year or so. Things that historically would have upset him he now let’s roll off his back and not get to him. His social skills have evolved, and I give First Tee a lot of credit for that.”
We can’t thank Anthony enough for his time and effort in caring for our participants and helping us Build Game Changers.
If you’re interested in becoming a First Tee coach, contact our Program Director, Mikayla Olson at [email protected]