Preschool students at The Rutledge Institute for Early Childhood Education are teaming with California University of Pennsylvania’s Professional Golf Management program to teach fine motor and social skills through the fundamentals of golf.

The Birdie Basics program, developed by the LPGA professional Kate Tempesta’s Urban Golf Academy, is designed to allow children as young as 3 years old to develop fundamental skills through learning the basics of golf.

Birdie Basics gives Rutledge’s preschool students a chance to learn golf in a safe and fun environment while also teaching them social lessons important to development.

“Birdie Basics gives our children the opportunity to explore golf in a developmentally appropriate way,” said Cherie Spears, Rutledge preschool director. “The coaches are teaching many lessons, including keeping your eye on the ball, take your turn, problem-solving skills, and honesty. All these skills will serve them well throughout their lives.”

The Birdie Basics program also gives PGM students valuable teaching experience that graduates will need in their careers.

“The students involved in running the program are getting a hands-on education on implementing age-appropriate activities for 3- to 6-year-olds, which is a demographic that historically lacks options for golf activities,” PGM professor James “J.R.” Pond said. “Students are learning how to set up stations, facilitate activities, and document the progress made by our Rutledge Institute friends.”

“This is an exciting collaboration that we hope to continue for the foreseeable future. Kate Tempesta's love for childhood development, the PGM student’s passion for golf and instruction and the goals of the Rutledge Institute are a match that couldn’t have been written any better for each other.”

To learn more about Cal U’s PGM program, visit

To learn more about The Rutledge Institute for Early Childhood Education, visit