The regular Miami Springs council meeting last Monday night, April 14 was highlighted by the news that an exciting, nationally known program is coming to the golf course. The council gave the go-ahead to bring a satellite of The First Tee program to Miami Springs and the youth of this community will be the beneficiaries.
The First Tee is a program of academics and character building through golf. It was started in 1998 with former President George H.W. Bush as its spokesman and has grown to more than 200 golf courses around the country. Here in Dade County, Miami International Links (Melreese Golf Club) and the Charlie DeLuccas lead First Tee — Charlie DeLucca Jr. and his son Charlie DeLucca III gave an impressive presentation to the council on Monday night.
Paul O’Dell, the Miami Springs golf director who was recommended for the job by Charlie DeLucca Jr., is strongly behind this program and feels it not only will help junior golf in this community but also bring more business to the golf course.
“Thanks to Paul, who is celebrating one year on the job here in Miami Springs, the golf course is like night and day from the way it was a year ago,” said DeLucca Jr. “And First Tee can help keep the momentum going.”
O’Dell assured the council that The First Tee Program will not cost the city anything; in fact, it should be a major benefit to the golf course and the community. It was described as a catalyst in the continued turnaround of the golf course that O’Dell has promised.
First Tee was started to give disadvantaged children the opportunity to not only learn golf but also life skills, healthy habits, and academics. All instructors are fully trained in the program and all children are accepted, regardless of their parents’ ability to pay.
Mayor Zavier Garcia, who got his first golf lesson in Miami Lakes from DeLucca Jr., and Councilman Billy Bain, an avid golfer whose sons were among the best junior players in the area, were most excited to get Miami Springs on board with The First Tee. But it was unanimous to start the process of bringing this program to Miami Springs.
It will take time for Miami Springs to approach the level of Miami International Links, which has grown from a grassy patch with a few students to a huge modern facility with the latest in academic and golf teaching processes. But step one was approved on Monday night.
In other news, the council:
• Awarded a Certificate of Appreciation to Linda Bosque, communications supervisor for the Miami Springs Police Department since 1997, who is retiring after 32 years of service to the community.
• Approved a resolution making the April 8 referendum vote on the sale of a portion of the golf course official, with the “no’s” winning the vote 1,040 to 909.
• Approved a $28 fee for background checks for every coach in all Miami Springs athletic programs, to be paid to the city for all programs, including soccer, baseball, football and basketball. This will start with the beginning of each program going forward.