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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).

1 Comment

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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