Tuesday, November 22, 2011


by guest blogger Lars J. Hanson

KTUGA's number one goal is to get children excited about playing golf. We believe that joy of the sport, of the experience, is what commits children to golf. Nothing makes us happier than seeing students empowered by their successes in our program!

This Thanksgiving season we are supremely thankful for having jobs where we get to do this everyday.

We are equally thankful when parents like Lars tell us how much they understand and appreciate the totality of our approach. One Saturday during class, Lars shared with Kate his appreciation for her technique. His feedback made Kate's heart sing so we asked him to write this blog.

Thank you Lars! Thank you KTUGA students!

Happy Thanksgiving from the entire KTUGA team.
Kate, Mari, Christy, Buddy, Eben, Deborah, Val, Gina Gr., Gina Go., Wally, Krystal


When I watch my son Graydon play golf with Kate Tempesta’s Urban Golf Academy, I see a child immersed in the lessons and flow of Play.

KTUGA offers a change of pace and place from the golf course and the driving range. Playing with a golf ball that doesn't travel all that far to begin with (or might even look more like a napkin ring) means that the focus won't be on how far the ball was hit. Rather, the focus can be on how the ball was hit.

Playing golf in Central Park and not at a golf course means that Graydon is engaging his imagination as he devises the par level and creates the course.
Expectations that usually come with playing on a golf course or at a driving range are not really applicable because the usual pressures are not there when “playing to learn” with KTUGA.

I also appreciate how Graydon’s confidence thrives when he is designing a golf course in Central Park. He is having fun while he makes choices about the obstacles and the par level, refining his technique as he plays the course he has just created.

Because Graydon has been playing golf for three years, sometimes it is easy for me to forget that Graydon is only eight years old. And guess what? Eight year-olds enjoying playing!

Kate really gets that about kids and golf and that is the primary focus of KTUGA’s curriculum and how the entire team teaches/plays golf. When Graydon turned 7 we approached Kate to lead a Birthday Party for Graydon and a number of his friends.

Graydon and his friends had a blast in the gymnasium because the party wasn't all about golf. Games incorporating balance and ball trajectory were mixed in amidst running, leaping and a scavenger hunt.

I have always been grateful to KTUGA because they understand the invaluable role that Play serves in teaching the fundamentals of Golf to beginners and youngsters. Graydon loves his lessons with KTUGA, is steadily improving as a golfer and I am most certain he is hooked for life.

-Lars Hanson

Lose Yourself

You know those moments where the stars align, the universe opens, and you just loose yourself? Sometimes it can happen in nature—on a hike, witnessing the perfect sunset. Sometimes it can happen in a conversation with a loved one. And sometimes, like last night, it can happen at a rock concert.
I went to see a band I’ve loved for a long time, and they played a song that has been a favorite of mine. The music began to surround me and all of a sudden I felt myself opening to the moment. I was totally and fully present in my life—right here and now. We often talk about “losing ourselves” in the moment, but that loss of self is actually self-realization. It is total awareness. And it’s what I find every single day that I teach.
It is a gift and a blessing to have the knowledge that you are right where you need to be in this life. I know when I teach, when I’m with the children, that there is nowhere else in the world I should be, and no one else I should be with. It’s the deepest, purest kind of presence—it’s knowing that the moment is exactly as it should be.
There are times in our lives where we cannot be where we need to be, not in the way I just mentioned. Duty calls. Money needs to be made. People need to be fed. Hearts need to be healed. Life is a journey and not every moment will be one we relish. The trick, then, is to let the moments that DO feel divine, that open us up, to act as reminders. Feeling present is not dependent on circumstance, but instead on attitude. It’s a choice. Am I going to love what I do, and give my all to it? Or am I going to suffer through my day? And as we move with that attitude, the attitude of grace, we begin to get clearer and clearer about what we want in our life—how to follow our heart to the path where our circumstances match our internal landscape, our attitude.
It’s not always easy. There are days when it feels like being present is no more than a pipe dream—like picking up in the middle of the afternoon on a Tuesday and deciding to go to Paris. Sometimes we need to do those things, to live spontaneously. Sometimes our life is calling us to just hop a plane. But other times, most times, we are just called to pause. To be present. To appreciate. And to know you are on your way. Even if you are not in Paris, if you’re not a rock star up on that stage, you are on the path. Simply by being, you are on the path.
Do I think that band woke up one day and had a bestselling, platinum album? Absolutely not. Were there tough days, years of being starving artists? Of course. But they hung in because they knew they were on the path. And the path delivered them where they needed to go.
I think the thing we often don’t realize is that the very core of life is a process. There is no “there,” there is just becoming. We are all works in progress. The children remind me of this constantly. They remind me to not think about some day far off in time where “it will all be worth it,” because it’s worth it right now. The worth is in the moment. It’s in getting on a seven year old’s level and watching him smile. It’s in playing a warm-up game with a five-year old girl and seeing the pride on her face as she picks up a club. Real success is honoring the path. It’s understanding that happiness does not come from reaching the mountaintop, but from enjoying the climb. It’s in living every moment—washing dishes, cleaning the bathroom, running, cooking, working-- like you’re playing to a sold-out stadium.
Lose yourself in a moment today. Trust me, you just may find something else.
Play and love,