Golf pro hits Dyker Heights links

Brooklyn green: Tyler Kim, 12, demonstrates his follow-through for Professional Golfers Association champion Rory McIlroy.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

A big-name athlete took a group of lucky Brooklyn kids clubbing on Monday — golf clubbing, of course!

The CityParks Program — 23-year-old organization offering outdoor activities to young people in New York City — gave 50 teenaged members of its youth golf program a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity on Aug. 20: the chance to get tips from one of the sport’s biggest stars. Rory McIlroy, the Irish-born, two-time Professional Golfers Association champion and current top-ranked linksman on the planet, stopped by the Junior Golf Center on 14th Avenue between Bath and Cropsey avenues in Dyker Beach Park to meet with the young players and share some of his wisdom and expert tips.

The program’s director of sports, Mike Silverman, said the free golf clinic was to help the green golfers both sharpen their skills and increase their interest in one of the many activities possible in New York parks.

“It serves to further encourage these kids in their love of the sport and gives them the opportunity to better their game,” said Silverman.

McIlroy started off by modeling his pre-shot routine for the teens, then answered any pressing questions they had. The champion then guided the kids through several practice stations designed to hone a particular skill: driving, or making the first long shot at each hole; chipping, or making a short shot to get the ball closer to the flag on a later stroke; and putting, or tapping the ball the last few feet into the cup.

In an official statement, CityParks called the clinic both an opportunity to give back to the community and a chance to highlight some of the young emerging talent in New York.

“In recent years, New York City has become a hotbed for aspiring young players,” the group said, adding that many of the teens in attendance had already demonstrated their skills in small Professional Golfers Association tournaments.

For McIlroy, it was an opportunity to share his passion for the sport with the younger generation.

“It was great to see so many kids enjoying the game of golf and for me to be able to give back and help them in some way,” the golfer said.

Fore: Irish golf star Rory McIlroy stopped by Dyker Heights on Aug. 20 to give Brooklyn kids some tips on their swings.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

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