Jayda Dookie, a senior at Suncoast High School, had a memorable day on Friday, Jan. 12 — and it was all due to the fact that she played golf.
Dookie knew that she was going to be late for school that day because she was going to make a pitstop at Glen Beaver’s homeschool golf class at Royal Palm Beach Commons Park. Her understanding was that she was going to provide some assistance to Beaver as he taught his young golfers a few things about the sport.
However, instead of honoring the young students with her presence, it was Dookie who was honored that morning.
Soon after she arrived on site, it was revealed that Dookie was being honored by First Tee of the Palm Beaches with its Participant of the Year Award.
Dookie, who learned how to play golf under the tutelage of coach Beaver, was shocked and surprised by the award.
In addition to taking lessons with Beaver and practicing golf at Commons Park, Dookie was recognized for her diligent work as a volunteer with the young golfers at Commons Park and for her commitment to being a caddie at the Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach. In many respects, she was a groundbreaker at Seminole when she became the first female to work as a caddie at the club. The caddie experience has been very beneficial for her.
“I learned what to do and not to do on the golf course and around adults,” said Dookie, who has a 4.7 GPA in the International Baccalaureate program at Suncoast. “I learned how to open up and talk with people. I am now more comfortable around adults.”
She noted that golf is a sport that can positively impact you for your entire life.
“Don’t give up playing golf,” Dookie said. “Other kids are going to ask why you are playing with some kind of tone like golf is not cool. They will try to convince you that golf is for old people, and they are incorrect! I am not old, and I can’t say enough about how everything I have learned in golf actually carries over into my life and the decisions that I make.”
For example, her communication skills are better because of golf.
“I had terrible public speaking skills as a freshman,” she said. “I was closed off, but now I am more open, and I can relate to people a lot better. I have met businesspeople who are leaders in the field while practicing and playing golf. I even volunteer for coach Glen during his camps, and that is something I never thought I would be able to do, never mind enjoy.”
Her parents, Imelda and Sean Dookie, were aware of their daughter’s award in advance. They have also seen her grow up and mature because of golf.
“She used to be a shy little girl, and now she’s not,” Imelda Dookie said.
“She is so much more mature and open with people,” Sean Dookie added.
Beaver, who has served as Dookie’s only golf instructor, was thrilled to see her honored for her hard work and dedication to golf.
“This is a great honor, and I am glad we were able to coordinate it so our homeschoolers could see what is possible when you take full advantage of our program offerings,” Beaver said. “I am very proud of Jayda and happy for her.”
Dookie, who was a co-captain of Suncoast’s girls varsity golf team last fall, also received a $50 gift card to the PGA Tour Superstore. After graduating from Suncoast, she plans to study business management in college.
Learn more about Beaver and his youth golf program at www.glenbeavergolf.com. Learn more about the First Tee program at www.firstteefloridagoldcoast.org.