Sweltering heat and temperatures in the 90s did not dampen the spirits of the youngsters who hit the links on Thursday afternoon, Aug. 2 for continued summer course, swing and life lessons — thanks to The First Tee golf program.

For years, the Rockland Golf Club has been the home for Midcoast junior golf instruction through The First Tee program, which has been the case again this summer, with two sessions of instruction from area professionals and coaches for dozens of youngsters.

On Thursday, youngsters worked on their drives on the practice area or headed out on the course to play a few holes.

Watch video, and see more photos, below.

Keenan Flanagan, Alex Plummer and Peter Hodgkins, current or former PGA professionals, have been instrumental in the program, as has Jim Povec, program director, among others.

Flanagan is the pro at Rockland, Plummer at Goose River in Rockport and Hodgkins previously at Rockland and Northport.

The First Tee LINK is in the midst of its third season providing instruction for Midcoast youngsters ages 7 to 15 at the RGC.

Flanagan and Povec said they have been excited about continuing to build on the strong program enjoyed by 46 golfers last summer and dozens more this year.

This summer there have been two five-week sessions on Thursdays from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at the Rockland Golf Club.

Session one ran May 31 to June 28, while session two will run July 12 through Aug. 9. The cost of the program is $50 per child for each five-week session, or $40 per child for families with two or more siblings who participate . If a child does not have golf clubs, sets are available on loan for the season.

For information about scholarships available to families in need of assistance, call Povec at 704-280-7595.

To register a student, to volunteer, or for more information, call the Rockland Golf Club at 594-9322.

“We always are looking for more coaches and volunteers to become involved in this important program. This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in helping children learn life skills through golf," Povec said.

Coaches will be background-checked to assure the safety of program students.

According to information from The first Tee, golf is unique from other sports because players learn values such as honesty and responsibility by calling penalties on themselves and reporting their own score, Povec said. The sport is a perfect platform for helping youth develop character because, just as in life, players experience the highs and lows of the game. Since 2005, The First Tee has impacted more than 20,000 young people in Maine communities.

Each of these individuals has been introduced to the lifelong sport of golf while learning skills such as goal-setting, managing emotions and resolving conflicts. At every level of instruction, the program emphasizes Nine Core Values™ (Honesty, Integrity, Sportsmanship, Respect, Confidence, Responsibility, Perseverance, Courtesy and Judgment).

Why don’t more young people learn to play golf? Research shows the primary reason is a lack of affordable junior golf programs and golf courses that welcome them. In 1997, the LPGA, Masters Tournament, PGA of America, PGA Tour and USGA formed a partnership with the help of Founding Corporate Partner, Shell Oil, to lead an initiative called The First Tee. This initiative began as a way to bring golf to children and teenagers who otherwise would not be exposed to the game and its positive values.

The First Tee has grown steadily into a robust youth service organization that instructs and inspires more than 4.1 million young people annually.