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Children’s Golf Foundation enjoys inaugural success

Children’s Golf Foundation enjoys inaugural success

Overbeck, Andrew

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Children’s Golf Foundation has had a successful first season at its Tam O’Shanter Teaching and Learning Center that is dedicated to teaching golf to disabled kids. The facility, which sits on top of a former landfill, opened in March.

“We logged more than 450 kid hours this summer,” said Keith Stuhler, CEO of the foundation. “We have made alliances with a number of disability groups and we are growing by leaps and bounds.”

Stuhler has been working on the golf learning center for handicapped children for the past 12 years. Prior to the construction of the facility, Stuhler and his staff would conduct classes on-site at schools. Now kids come to a 15– acre facility that was designed with them in mind.

The course features a 25,000– square-foot teeing area, an 8,000– square-foot putting green and a 3,000-square-foot clubhouse. The driving range provides four holes of varying length.

“We have progressed from teaching golf at schools to getting the kids out chipping and putting,” Stuhler said. -Then we get them to play the course. We can set up the course specific to their abilities. For instance, for a severely handicapped kid, we have holes that are 10 yards in length and we can have a hole that is 310 yards in length.”

Stuhler designed the course and will oversee the upcoming renovation of the clubhouse.

“We are doing a $400,000 renovation,” he said. “We have a triple– wide modular unit that we are going to build up on and put a deck on. On the inside we will have interior ramps and we will redo the interior. It will be the equal of a good private golf club.”

While the foundation works largely with disabled children, it will be expanding to serve the local VA Hospital and start working with the local YMCA. Stuhler said the program will continue to serve children in cooperation with the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Special Populations, the Jewish Community Center’s disability program and Palm Beach County Elementary Schools.

The Children’s Golf Foundation is fully funded by donations. It is a First Tee facility and receives a grant from the USGA Foundation. Dorothy Campbell is the primary benefactor of the project. The facility is named in tribute to George S. May, who staged the 1950 World Open at the original Tam O’Shanter Golf Club in Niles, Ill.

“Ongoing funding is going very well,” said Stuhler. “The solid waste authority who capped the landfill recently built us a road and other infrastructure, saving us $285,000.”

Copyright United Publications, Inc. Nov 2002

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