Riverchase Elementary students tee off

Hanna Reamer and Clea Collins, Riverchase Elementary School kindergarteners, work on their putting skills during the school's golf unit on March 11. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

Hana Dobbins-Reamer and Clea Collins, Riverchase Elementary School kindergarteners, work on their putting skills during the school’s golf unit on March 11. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

By KATIE MCDOWELL/Lifestyles Editor

Riverchase Elementary students perfected their putting skills during a recent golfing course during physical education classes.

The students teed off on 25 golf holes that P.E. teachers Blake Gilchrist and Will Patridge created to add interest to their regular golf unit.

“We’re always looking for ways to keep things fresh for the kids,” Patridge said.

The idea started last year when the teachers talked to the students about what they would want from a golfing program. Patridge said many of the students reported enjoying playing putt putt while on beach trips.

Patridge and Gilchrist developed the lesson over the summer. To create the green, they bought 6 by 13 feet of carpet from Lowe’s, which they cut into 3 by 9 foot rectangles.

During the fall, they let students give input about how the holes should be designed with many requests for ramps and trapdoors.

“We took the ones that were best suited for our class,” Patridge said.

The teachers created 25 holes, and the golfing unit began Feb. 25. The first week consisted of covering golf basics, including putting, chipping, judging speed and learning to keep score.

Then, the students hit the links, putting their new golf skills to use. Patridge said they designated different par scores for kindergarten-second graders and third-fifth graders.

“We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback about it,” he said.

Patridge said golf was a good sport for students to learn because they could continue to play as adults.

“Golf’s a lifetime sport,” he said.

The golfing course coincided with an optional afterschool program offered by Robbie Blackwell, a golf instructor at Oxmoor Valley.

Patridge said he was thankful to the community and school for offering support in creating the course. The golfing lessons ended March 13, but Patridge said he and Gilchrist plan to offer the program again next year with a few changes and additions.

Riverchase Elementary students will finish out the year with fitness testing and units on dance, bike safety and striking.