SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — Golf is no easy game to master, but the First Tee organization has turned those challenges into opportunities for young players, developing talent along with traits. An initiative that attracted former police officer Kevin McCormick to become a part of the Siouxland chapter.

“I remember having a conversation with the executive director at that time and I thought to myself, “if there’s ever a time where I’m not a police office any longer this would be a great gig to have,'” said First Tee Siouxland executive director Kevin McCormick. “Fast forward about eight years and here I am.”

Though kids are being taught the fundamentals, it goes further than just pitching and putting, with each week of their summer program centered around nine core values. The value for this week? Courtesy.

“We get kids who are coming out of here saying, ‘Yeah we talked about courtesy today and what it’s like to be courteous on the golf course but also courteous just in life and things like that,'” said McCormick.

“I know if I was younger and I was getting taught respect and stuff I’d be like that’s so boring but these kids are so excited and so joyful,” said First Tee Siouxland coach Isaac Richter. “They seem to enjoy learning how to be better kids and better golfers.”

It’s been said the game of golf is 10 percent physical, 90 percent mental. But First Tee Siouxland is doing their part to instill skills through today’s youth that they can take with them well beyond the green.

“It covers all of those core values,” said McCormick. “We have to be honest when we’re tracking our score. We have to respectful of other players when they’re swinging and courteous and quiet.”

“We’ve only been doing this for three weeks and you can already see a huge difference in just the kids’ behavior, their overall attitude,” noted Richter.

And word has spread quickly for First Tee Siouxland, welcoming a record number of participants for their Green Grass Program this summer, an event that’s already produced results.

“I used to not keep my eye on the ball,” said third grade golfer Lucas Strub. “I used to kind of look where it was about to go, so I learned to start keeping my eye on the ball and don’t look away.”

All while staying true to its vision of making each kid’s golfing experience bigger than birdies.

“It is bigger than the game of golf,” said McCormick. “They do get to experience these life values and take them with them for the rest of their lives. We’re hoping to continue to keep serving Siouxland kids and growing that number.”