BANGOR, Maine — There are times when Brian Enman, the head pro at Bangor Municipal Golf Course, probably feels like he has a target on his shirt.
On Thursday, it will become fact.
Enman will wear a jacket with a bull’s-eye made of fabric fasteners while children ages 7-17 hit small tennis-like balls at him as part of a clinic to introduce The First Tee of Maine program at the golf course.
“I volunteered to wear it,” said Enman of the brightly colored jacket, which has strips of the fasteners incorporated into other areas as well.
“They’ll take pot shots at me,” said Enman, who also will be wearing a helmet with a facemask. “I think it will be a lot of fun for them and I think I’ll get a lot of laughs [from it] myself.”
The festivities will begin from 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday at the tennis courts near Mansfield Stadium during the Senior League World Series. Bangor assistant pro Rob Jarvis will set up hitting nets and tee mats and allow any kids who are interested “to whale away at the balls.”
“There’s no better setting than the Senior League World Series,” said Jarvis. “Young kids like to get out and try new things. What could be better for the game?”
On Thursday, Jarvis and Enman will hold the junior golf program at Bangor Muni from 9 a.m. to noon, when Enman will become a target while youths will be given an introduction to golf.
These two days will act as a preview for the full program, which is expected to start next year.
“We can tell them, ‘Here’s what it will entail. Here’s what we’ll launch in early spring,’” said Jarvis. “Parents will get to ask questions. We’ll get [those questions] out of the way this year, and it’s a good way to meet [the children and their parents].”
The First Tee, which is administered by the Maine Golf House at Val Halla Golf Course in Cumberland, is a program that focuses on developing life skills by using experiences from golf. The program is based on nine core values — honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, judgment and courtesy.
“It’s quite comprehensive,” said Jarvis. “Sometimes there are two to three sessions per day. And it’s not [based on] just age but level of experience.”
The schedule “might be once a week for a month or it might be a few days each week,” he said. “It all depends on how many kids are enrolled.”
Wednesday’s session won’t be delving into those aspects much.
“It’ll be simple stuff,” said Jarvis. “We’ll show them how to set their feet, then let ’em grab a club. The more they strike the ball, the better they’ll get and the more likely they are to think, ‘Hey, this is cool.’
“If they like that, then the next morning, they can come out to the golf course and ease into it a little more.”
No signup is required for Wednesday’s activity, but Jarvis would like people who plan on being at the golf course to preregister, so they can gauge the number of volunteers needed.
Jarvis said he, Enman and The First Tee of Maine executive director Ron Bibeau will be on hand for the sessions.
“[Bibeau] is the right person for the job,” said Enman. “He’s like a big kid himself. He really engages with the kids well.”
Other pros have been contacted to see if they can volunteer as well, but any volunteers will be welcome.
“The program relies a lot on volunteers,” said Jarvis.
As for the children, there are no restrictions on who can participate except for age.
“I think there’s a big misperception that it’s only for the underprivileged,” said Jarvis, who believes that the more people who can be included in the program, the better it works.
“I like where the organization is going with it and taking it statewide, it’s going to be enormous,” he said.
He pointed out that Val Halla, under pro Brian Bickford, has a huge junior program and a large participation in The First Tee.
“There are kids all over the place,” said Jarvis. “They fill the driving range, the putting green and the golf course.
“The thing is, their bags are in the right spot, they’re all dressed appropriately [and not acting up]. If you’re not on board with something like this, then what are you doing?”
If they take up golf, that’s OK, but that’s not really the point, said Jarvis.
“It’s as much about building good people as it is about building golfers,” he said.
If it takes a little fun to accomplish that, Jarvis and Enman accept that.
“It looks like a lot of fun,” said Enman of the introductory sessions. “If they have fun, I think they’ll stick with it.”
• Seventh annual John Bapst Hockey Boosters Golf Tournament on Aug. 18 at Rocky Knoll CC in Orrington. Registration starts at noon, with a 1 p.m. shotgun start. Entry fee is $300 per team. For more information, visit www.johnbapst.org, contact Melissa Harvey at 207-949-7535 or email email@example.com.
• The third Bangor Golf Classic, sponsored by Massimo’s Cucina Italiana, will be held Aug. 18-19 at Bangor Municipal Golf Course with three men’s divisions and one women’s. It’s 36 holes of medal play with gross and net prizes in each division. The entry fee is $85. Go to www.bangorgolfclassic.com for entry information or call 941-0232.
• Hidden Meadows GC Club Championships are Aug. 18-19 with men’s, women’s, senior and junior divisions. Entry fee for the 36-hole tourneys is $10, and they are open to all Hidden Meadows members. Sign up in the pro shop or call 827-4779.
• A Brewer High School Golf Fundraiser will be held Aug. 25 at Traditions GC in Holden. The nine-hole scramble has a 3 p.m. shotgun start and $30 entry fee. For more information, call 989-9909.