Once again I return from a golf tournament having encountered, what seems to be, all the right people. Serendipitously, they just fall into my lap!
Day one and I got chatting with some of the fellow Aussies in the media centre. It turns out Evin Priest from AAP and Ben Everill from the PGA, who I met briefly at the Canadian Open, grew up within 40 kilometres of me!
Australia is a huge country and here we three are, from the same small area, sitting in Hawaii writing and talking about all things golf. There must be something in the water at home. I'm also sure I'll see them at other golf tournaments during the year.
Steve Kane, who I golfed with at Oahu Country Club on my 40th birthday, told me to visit Kellan Anderson from The First Tee Hawaii. So that is exactly what I did. We had a wonderful golf chat with us both agreeing that Fairways and The First Tee Hawaii should work together to get more children golfing.
We even teed it up together at Hoakalei Country Club to further discuss an alliance. Steve came too, and we were also joined by Kellan's colleague at The First Tee, Jason Jakovac. Kellan and I agreed that Hawaii's First Tee chapter should collaborate with Fairways' Dawn 2 Dusk event, with all proceeds raised in the state to be split between our two organisations. Fantastic!
The following day, I went to find David Havens. I'd heard he was running a nonprofit too. When I found him, I learned he runs Spare for Change, which recycles clubs and puts them in the hands of players who need them, children and adults alike. David also gives free lessons, which is fantastic.
David was amazed with my golf story, and with what we are doing at Fairways. I watched him fit and make multiple clubs for the children that stopped by his stall and I chatted with the juniors about our shared love of golf. David and I are going to stay in touch, as I think we can work together somehow in order to grow the game we both love.
Bizarrely, when I told David where Fairways' juniors are located, he asked who we sponsor in Nepal. It turns out he not only knows Pratima Sherpa, but had worked with her coach, Sachin Bhattarai. Fairways is paying Sachin to coach Pratima. In the Golf Digest article about Pratima, she was wearing one of David’s hats in the photos. What a small world!
Later on, I stopped to talk to a gentleman sitting by himself in the media centre. I had decided he looked a little lonely. We chatted for about 20 minutes before we actually introduced ourselves and I found I had been talking to John Norris, who is Senior Vice President of Tournament Business Affairs for the PGA TOUR.
We had quite the chat about the path golf has led me along over the last two-and-a-half years. John was very impressed with Fairways and with what we have achieved to-date. He told me he wants to help us continue to get more disadvantaged juniors playing golf.
We have ten sets of donated clubs for our Bolivian program that we're trying to raise money for to ship to Santa Cruz, and John has already reached out to a friend on the PGA TOUR Latinoamerica to see if there is any way we can get discounted freight. Wow!
I think not being shy helps me. Not-to-mention, I love my job! How could I not?
I have just arrived in Bolivia, and the delight on the young cadets' faces, safe in the knowledge that someone wants to help them play golf, is very fulfilling.
If you can help, please give the gift of golf by becoming a Fairways sponsor.