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Opinion & Analysis

High School golfer pays it forward, launches Golf4AllKids

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Teenager Max Reyes isn’t laying up. Not in golf or in life.

A high school sophomore at Menlo Atherton in California, he’s a 5-handicap varsity team member who saw that some kids wanted to play golf at his school but couldn’t because of various barriers. A member of Youth on Course (YOC), the non-profit organization providing access to golf through $5-or-less rounds, Max tapped into the spirit of YOC by resolving to help his peers wanting to play but lacking the resources to do so.

Inspired to positive action, Max launched Golf4AllKids.com with a simple but profound motto: “Every kid who wants to play golf should be able to.” Enlisting his parents, golf coach and teammates to support the mission, Max has organized a fundraising tournament, is collecting golf clubs for distribution, and, along with his teammates, donating time to teach any student interested in learning the game.

Max and his altruistic action buck golf’s origin as an elitist sport, showcasing the sport’s diversity and inclusion initiatives while making the game more representative of America’s demographic composition — an admirable endeavor made even more impressive by the 15-year-old’s wise-beyond-his-years vision.

Introduced to the game by his father at age 8, Max founded Golf4AllKids after attending a school program that shed insight on the socio-economic diversity of his peers.

“My school has a bunch of kids from different socio-economic backgrounds, and we have something called ‘Challenge Day’ where the counselors encourage the kids to speak up about their life challenges, and we get to learn about other kids in our school,” says Max, who joined YOC two years ago and has played an estimated 50 rounds at seven courses through the program.

“We heard stories about kids struggling at home, having very different situations than I do,” he says. “Several of them were on the football, baseball and basketball teams, but none on our golf team. I wondered why. Then I thought about the costs, which caused me to think of how I could possibly help turn that around.”

Launched in February, Golf4AllKids is gaining traction, this despite Max battling pneumonia through March. The first fundraiser tournament will be held June 8 at the Golf Club at Moffett Field, and a few sets of clubs have been donated. Modest early steps, but promising seeds that are showing signs of growth by the day.

“The PGA Super Store manager in East Palo Alto has verbally agreed to help provide some clubs,” Max says. “The more clubs we can get, the more lessons we give, so we’re excited by their support.”

More help is coming from YOC, which has agreed to provide free memberships to people coming through Golf4AllKids who can’t afford them. Extending his experience to others is precisely the mission of YOC, which has expanded to 24 states/regions in the country and includes more than 30,000 members and 750+ courses where young golfers can play $5-or-less rounds.

“We love what Max is doing,” says Michael Lowe, YOC Director of Programs. “It takes work at the grass-roots level to grow, and Max is helping provide access to the game, which is what Youth on Course does first and foremost.”

Max hopes the access YOC presented to him can be passed on to others through Golf4AllKids.

“There’s so many good things golf gives – it’s a great escape, it’s outdoors, and it’s a team sport where friendships grow,” says Max, who hopes to play college golf and whose high school team has only lost one of its last 30 matches. “I want others to have the same chance to experience these things if they want to.”

When not going to school, playing golf, or working on Golf4AllKids, Max likes to spend time with his chocolate lab, Scout, and his family. His mother, Azita Martin, is rightfully proud, saying her son’s altruistic vision stems from a simple inspiration.

“He realized he can do something to make a difference in the world.”

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A University of Maryland graduate, Dan is a lifelong resident of the Mid-Atlantic, now residing in NoVa. Fan of all D.C. professional sports teams, Dan fell in love with golf through Lee Trevino's style and skill during his peak years. Dan was a newspaper journalist, editor of Golf Inc. magazine, then a PR professional specializing in golf people, places and things for 17 years, rising to Vice President in Billy Casper Golf's PR division. In 2018, Dan started his own company, Dan Shepherd Public Relations, LLC, catering to golf, travel, lifestyle, attractions of all types, and non-profits (www.operationsupportmilitarygolf.org).

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1 Comment

  1. Ryan B

    May 6, 2018 at 8:56 pm

    What a great cause!

    Be the change you want to see around you.

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Opinion & Analysis

Don’t be THAT guy at your corporate outing

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Today is the day. Your out-of-office email is up, and you’re fully prepared for an afternoon at the course. As a driving range pro, you think this day will be a gentle breeze. However, you are not prepared. You may not even realize it, but you are about to be that guy.

That guy… who is that guy? Well, I’m glad you asked.

He’s that guy at the range hours early instead of socializing at the breakfast. He’s that guy arranging the scramble lineup when he finally makes it to that breakfast. He’s the guy who finds himself reading a golf blog about a corporate scramble.

Hi, guy!

Now, let’s start this early in the morning. You’re in your closet carefully crafting your outfit for the day. Wait, wait, wait… let’s not start there. Therein lies the problem, guy. You aren’t composing an outfit, not today! An outfit is for Day 2 of your member-guest. An outfit is for that golf trip with your buddies. An outfit is for Bill Murray at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am (who, with those bell bottoms, is becoming dangerously close to that guy). 

I digress.

A corporate outing is for the muted colors sitting in the back of your closet. There’s no need to get flashy with your attire on this day. If your game is as good as your rangefinder magnet says you are, your game will be enough of the conversation; there’s no need to make your belt buckle one of them. White shorts are fine, but please, don’t be the guy wrapped in pants in 80-degree heat. I get it, you’re “more comfortable in pants” and “this new fabric is actually cooler than shorts.” Come on now, let’s save the pants for guys who aren’t playing for pro shop credit.

Obviously club-tossing, swear-wording and teammate-bashing are huge no-nos, but you already know that. Be encouraging on the course and give your teammates credit when they hit one down the middle, even if you drive it past them. It was still their shot that freed you up.

Most importantly, gauge the competitiveness of the team. Some people are there to win; some people are there for gin. If it’s clear that your team isn’t firing 14-under, kick back, relax and help your teammates improve. You’ll have your own chance. You can still get excited for the long drive, guy.

Speaking of the long drive, why is the prize for winning said competition so often a new driver? “You proved today how well you smash that driver, so here is a new one!” Sir, he likes his just fine. I think it’s safe to venture he’d rather stop the three-putt pars. Which also goes for the longest-putt prize. A brand new Odyssey White Hot! Just stop it. Pro shop credit… problem solved.

Speaking of problems, there’s a good chance someone in your group will have a massive one with their swing. As a guy, you’ll probably want to tell them they are “casting” and to try this “towel-under-the-arm drill.” Yes, it is completely fine to provide a tip, but only when warranted (or preferably, called upon). You can go from “guy who helped my short game” to “guy who destroyed my swing” with just a few too many hints.

One more thing. Don’t let any guy pull this move.

Let me paint a story. Your team approaches the green, you have two decent looks at birdie. Good for you! However, your team can’t decide. One is 15-feet straight up the hill. The other is an eight-foot slider. The team agrees the shorter putt is still the play.

“I’ll smack this 15-footer, just for fun,” your cheating teammate says. Followed shortly by, “unless it goes in, ha.”

Other than actually cheating, this is the most common and lame shenanigan I’ve seen in a corporate scramble. I’ve never forgotten the people that did it with me, and they won’t forget you.

Man, that got dark in a hurry.

Back to the fun stuff. You’ve mastered the clothing and seamlessly blended casual and competitive like Tom Brady in Uggs. All that is left now is to select your winning item in the pro shop. And this is where I leave my final tip. Go with something practical: gloves, golf balls. The last thing your wardrobe needs is another lime green shirt that you’ll want to wear in next month’s scramble.

Related: Pick three golfers to build your ultimate scramble team for $8 or less!

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The 19th Hole: Host Michael Williams plays Shinnecock Hills and reports back

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Host Michael Williams reports on his visit to Media Day at Shinnecock Hills, the site the 2018 U.S. Open, where he played the course. How are the current conditions? He weighs in on the Unlimited Mulligan Challenge made by Dave Portnoy of Barstool Sports that day, as well. Also, famed Architect David Kidd talks about how he created Bandon Dunes at the age of 25, and Steve Skinner of KemperLesnik gives his views on the health of the golf business.

Listen to the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

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TG2: What’s it like to caddie for Rory? GolfWRX Forum Member shares his experience

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Marine and GolfWRX forum member “djfalcone” explains the story of how he got to caddie for Rory McIlroy and Johnny Vegas through the Birdies for the Brave program, and how knowledgable Rory is about his equipment. Make sure to check out his full forum thread here.

Listen to our full podcast below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

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