During the trick shot portion of the annual AT&T Byron Nelson Youth Golf Clinic presented by Under Armour on Tuesday, May 16, it became obvious Jordan Spieth is a Dallas native. Kids started chanting his name as he took on Dan Boever, a long-driving specialist and full-time golf entertainer. Spieth and Boever competed in a number of friendly golf challenges including tic-tac-toe, target practice, closest to the pin, and smashing the coke can.
“Don’t you sit at home and go, ‘I wonder how I would do if I got to play against Jordan Spieth?’” Boever said in front of the hundreds of gathered kids and their families. “Well let me tell you how you would do, it wouldn’t be very good.”
Hosted at the TPC Four Seasons Practice Range, the event allowed kids a chance to get a picture and autograph with Spieth.
Dallas resident Patrick Carver and his sons, Langdon and Nathan, enjoyed watching Spieth lead the event.
“[The boys] have gotten really into golf because of him,” Carver said. “They’re interested in seeing what he does out here.”
Carver and his sons, who attended the youth clinic last year, look most forward to the event because of Spieth as well as its interactive nature created by Boever.
Boever hosts a half-hour show for the Golf Channel and encouraged Spieth to give advice to the kids during the competition, including the tic-tac-toe game where both Spieth and Boever were set up roughly twenty feet from a ply board and had their names written in each square they hit with their ball. Spieth gave tips on how to hit the ball differently to aim for the lower squares versus the higher ones.
Afterwards, Boever gave Spieth one minute to hit ten balls at a larger ply board set up further in the distance, with each ball making contact adding $100 to Jordan’s charity, the Jordan Spieth Family Foundation.
Spieth then answered questions from the kids, including how he got involved in golf.
“My parents started me out with a plastic set of clubs when I was really young, but it was with a soccer ball, a football, a baseball, anything,” he said. “They let me go have fun and figure out what I liked to do, and I just fell in love with golf. I wasn’t pushed into it at all.”
This will be Spieth’s 7th start at the AT&T Byron Nelson, with his best finish being a tie for 16th place. As a kid growing up in Dallas, Spieth attended the same AT&T Byron Nelson youth clinic. With this being the last year at the current course and the same course he hosts his foundation event, Spieth said it’s a very special place for his family and friends.
“It’s very bittersweet,” he said. “Obviously fantastic memories and I’m looking forward to creating new ones this week and hopefully the best ones yet.”
The Salesmanship Club of Dallas, a service organization founded in 1920 that runs the tournament, says the logistics behind the youth clinic are especially unique.
“There’s a lot of behind the scenes work,” said Robert Engstrom, member of the Salesmanship Club. “We’re using a live range where the pros are practicing getting ready for the tournament, so you can’t really set up until right before the event starts.”
The Salesmanship Club of Dallas focuses their efforts to support Momentous Institute, a group they own and operate which builds and repairs social emotional health for kids and families through education, therapeutic programs, research and training. The AT&T Byron Nelson is the Salesmanship Club’s primary fundraiser.
Jim Doherty helped with the youth clinic as part of The First Tee of Greater Dallas, an organization that has been volunteering with the youth clinic since 2004.
“It’s just an awesome experience for [the kids], to invigorate them and encourage them in the game of golf,” Doherty said. “To meet an icon of the game that’s really coming up and is still young, youth like this is just awe inspiring.”
The First Tee of Greater Dallas, one of many chapters across the country, seek to help kids and teens learn to play golf along with life lessons and leadership skills through programs that place a positive impact on participants, families, and their communities.
The organization’s managing director of programs Chuck Walker is encouraged that kids learn not just about golf, but also from a great role model like Spieth.
“We want to see a kid out of The First Tee grow up to be not just a fantastic golfer but a fantastic person,” Walker said. “You heard Jordan mention his family, you heard him talk about his foundation and talk about the way that he just gives back to the community, that’s all you can ask for out of someone with the accolades that he’s received through the years.”