By: Jarret Romanello, The St. Lucie Post
June 4, 2021
The Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Lucie County (BGCSLC) broke ground on a Chip-N-Putt Golf Practice and Learning Center at the Westside Club in Fort Pierce on June 2, 2021.
The links come through a partnership between the BGCSLC, First Tee – Treasure Coast, and the Community Foundation of Martin – St. Lucie County. “It takes an entire community to make this happen,” said Will Armstead, CEO of BGCSLC, as he introduced dignitaries and philanthropists Andrew and Robin Hunt at the revealing of the center’s plan at the Westside Campus.
Three greens, five target greens, and a multi-use recreation area will sit on a football field size course on the 25-acre campus adjacent to Westside Church in Fort Pierce. Board members are excited to bring golf to Westside – the largest Boys and Girls Club in the state of Florida. “We are using golf as a means to build character,” said board member Charles Cuomo.
First invited by First Tee Honorary Chairman President George W. Bush to become a lifelong National Trustee of the organization, Andrew Hunt brought a chapter to the Treasure Coast in 2012. The chapter now provides free golf to veterans,those with special needs, and youth from Broward to St. Lucie County.
Through golf, the organization supports youth development by promoting healthy life choices and instilling life-changing values. “We believe in Honesty, Integrity, Sportsmanship, Respect, Confidence, Responsibility, Perseverance, Courtesy, and Judgement,” Andrew Hunt said.
Come this fall, BGCSLC club kids will have the opportunity to hit 80-yard shots with real clubs and balls or use SNAG equipment (starting new at golf) to develop their game. New golfers can practice hitting tennis balls at inflatable hippos, while more advanced golfers can chip to a putting green for birdie.
Fort Pierce City Commissioners Curtis Johnson & Jeremiah Johnson joined Police Chief Diane Hobley-Burney and St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Brian Hester in their enthusiasm for the center.
“This center will serve to build a strong foundation for our youth. Every day they can practice chipping and putting. The same way you have to chip away at life,” Commissioner Curtis Johnson told the St. Luice Post.
Robin Hunt hopes that the kids that use the facility will benefit from lessons learned, “Golf is humbling, and we are using the game to teach life skills,” Robin said