After having my Fairways epiphany in Ireland, I emailed my pro at Avondale Golf Course, Dave Bowlan and told him what I was up to. So when I went for my first lesson back and asked Dave if he knew any children that Fairways could help, he already had two for me. The Shaw Boys.
Now it was time to meet them. I arrived at Avondale and found its General Manager, Connor Lea, on the putting green. While we waited for the boys, we wandered through the clubhouse and had a chat about the Fairways fundraiser Avondale was hosting on August 1st. I saw a new honour board entitled, "Most Improved Juniors," which was already emblazoned with the names of our first cadets, Nate and Sam Shaw! Along with their 2016 membership tags, Connor had trophies to award to the boys.
We came back outside to find Dave with Nate and Sam, and their mother, Karen. Nate and Sam hadn't been told why they'd been invited to the course. I told them about Fairways, our vision for growing the game, helping juniors develop their skills with memberships, lessons and range access. I capped it by saying they were our first cadets! We then gave them their membership tags and trophies. Needless to say the boys were ecstatic. Sam declared he would be playing golf forever as he loves it so much. I must say I agree with him completely.
Karen was speechless and shocked. She had no idea that the boys were even getting trophies let alone having their golf paid for, for as long as they need it. Better still, Fairways has arranged lessons with Dave at All About Golf on simulators during the Winter. While the boys cheered, Karen said she had no words to thank me.
We told Nate and Sam about the honour board, so we headed inside to see it. They were chuffed when I told them they were now part of Avondale Golf Course history. Sam announced, “This is the best day ever!” I was as happy as the boys. Delighted doesn’t cover it. Seeing the dream of helping disadvantaged kids play golf realised in such a short time was amazing.
There were grins all round as we continued chatting and I told the boys that when they finished school, I would arrange to come and play a round with them and may even turn up for one of their lessons. Karen said the boys now couldn't wait to finish school and spend the Summer on the course.
As I drove away I couldn’t stop smiling. Giving the gift of golf to delighted young golfers – does it get any better? I can’t wait for Fairways to grow and sponsor hundreds and thousands of children all over the world. I love our mission to develop golf at the grassroots, provide memberships, arrange lessons and range access, support the industry and putting more young feet on golf course fairways.