WESTPORT — Sophie Carozza loves golf and wants to give others the chance to hit the links, as she did from an early age.
In February, the 16-year old Staples High School junior decided to start Golf to Give, a charity aimed at providing underprivileged area children the tools to learn and play the costly sport. A lack of youth golf programs in Bridgeport caused her to act.
“There wasn’t really a big program to get younger kids involved in golf, so I thought that would be a great thing to do and I really love golf so I really wanted to start that,” she said.
“Sophie came to us about a month ago and had this idea of bringing golf to the Shehan Center,” said Katherine O’Hara, a program director at the center.
The donation efforts are already making a difference, “We have a huge closet now full of golf clubs. We have three large containers of golf balls,” O’Hara said.
Carozza, a member of the Staples girls’ varsity golf team, enlisted her teammates, members of the boys’ golf team, coaches and golf professionals, to provide lessons for the young golfers at Longshore Golf Course during a clinic on April 12. A dozen fourth through eighth graders from the Shehan Center—including Isabella Barral, 9, and Genesis Pittman, 11—recieved their first organized introduction into the sport where they learned how to hold clubs and basic rules.
“I enjoyed it a lot and I liked playing golf because when you shot (putted) it inside the hole it was awesome,” Barral said. She also got some work in on the driving range, “When I went to station three it went really far.”
Pittman also enjoyed working on her swing. “My favorite part was the driving range because you could just hit the ball. It was just fun.”
The Shehan Center is excited about the program and is hopeful about making a weekly trip down to Westport. “We’re looking to continue this on a weekly basis to bring kids down to Longshore and just learn about golf,” O’Hara said.
Carozza plans to continue clinics with Staples golfers and Longshore staff into the summer and is also looking to expand the program to other courses.
“It was a chance to give those who didn’t really have the opportunity to experience it (golf). I really wanted to give them the chance,” Carozza said. “I thought what better way than to start something where I can give them the equipment and the time to play.”
Those interested in donating can contact Carozza directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203-581-0279.