Many people hate going to the dentist, but there's one practitioner in Orlando, Fla., that everyone is happy to see. For 20 years, Dr. Thomas J. Dorsey (known to his friends and family as "Doc") has helmed the Orlando Minority Youth Golf Association (OMYGA).
The OMYGA was founded in 1991 as a means to provide children in Orlando with a hobby that they could learn life lessons from. In an interview with The Huffington Post, Dorsey said he believes golf is a means to a very important series of ends: "Golf is a vehicle to teach kids about integrity and responsibility ... The discipline that's required to play golf is just off the chain."
"It brings self-discipline, which in turn brings self-control to the body and mind," he added. "And once we get that, then we have some real self-confidence."
The program fields youth 6 to 18-years old for a structured, 11-month set of practices, trainings and "life lessons." Each weekend, the students hit the golf course for varying round lengths. In June, students compete in an annual OMYGA-wide tournament.
The life lessons, doled on Friday evenings, focus not only on the rules of the game but on what Dorsey hopes students will carry with them throughout life.
OMYGA's posted rules mandate that every student bring a notepad with them if they want to be admitted into the lecture room.
"We have now had hundreds and hundreds of kids come through our program, and we have students on college scholarships for golf that started as little children," Dorsey said.
OMYGA has held clinics with the likes of Tiger Woods and Annika Sorenstam, and Dorsey has even written a book about his experiences with OMYGA, entitled Tigermania and the OMYGA.
Dorsey says he doesn't do it all alone -- he has a "parent entourage" of about 25 people and 10 teachers that volunteer with the program. The city of Orlando has also helped the program along by providing golf equipment, instructional videos and facilities to Dorsey. Disney World also allows OMYGA to use some of their facilities.
In addition to being featured in a variety of golf-focused outlets (including The Golf Channel), select Nike Golf products have highlighted OMYGA on the front of their boxes.
If it sounds like a lot of recognition for an athletic program, it is. But Dorsey never set out to just create a training program -- even though OMYGA does turn out extremely gifted and NCAA-ready athletes. Listening to Dorsey describe his program is a bit like hearing someone describe a life-coaching method they wholeheartedly subscribe to themselves.
The Huffington Post asked Dorsey how he finds new students, and the doctor responded in a manner characteristic of his outlook on life: "I've never advertised or anything, so word of mouth I suppose. It's my passion, and when you have a passion for something, you just do it."
"We've never turned anyone down, after all these years," he added.