Spotlight on Golf

Sport instills values to children

 

Special To the Miami Herald

Kids and adults of all ages just completed the holiday season in South Florida playing golf in various world recognized international tournaments.

All those tournaments — the South Beach International Amateur, the Dixie Amateur, the Junior Orange Bowl Championship and the Doral Publix Junior Classic — have some of the world’s best amateurs competing, but only one event has separate divisions devoted to the youngest of the players. That’s the Doral Publix held at Trump National Doral.

Sure, Hurly Long and Emily Perdersen won the most prestigious titles in the Doral Publix, the boys’ and girls’ 16-18 division. However, possibly just as important was all that happened in the younger divisions, and we’re not just talking about golf scores.

When you see kids from all over the world as young as 6 or 7 playing golf, smiling and laughing, playing tag and hide-and-seek before and after their rounds and learning about each other’s cultures, there’s something intrinsically more important than over par or under par.

Golf becomes the secondary factor.

Charlie DeLucca Jr. and his son, Charlie DeLucca III, run the Doral Publix event through the First Tee of Miami, and they live and breathe golf every day. But as they often say, “Golf is a path for teaching proper values and character to kids, and that’s much more important than the game.”

And that’s why the First Tee stresses nine core values — honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment. Players in the Doral Publix and the First Tee get a healthy lesson in those areas in addition to learning how to keep their heads down when taking a golf swing.

Fortunately for the DeLuccas, there is somebody who strongly agrees with them about helping kids.

That person would be the new owner of Trump National Doral, which would naturally be Donald Trump.

The past two years Trump has visited the tournament, coming in by helicopter and landing on a helipad near the ninth fairway. And if you don’t think that gets the young kids (and old kids and adults, for that matter) fired up, you are sadly mistaken.

Trump has watched the youngest of kids scurrying all over his golf courses at Doral and has also met and talked to the DeLuccas.

“Yes,” Trump said, “I’ve met him and his son. I like them and I like very much what they do for golf and for kids.”

So, it looks as though the tournament has a home for years to come, and that translates into kids benefitting for years to come.

The winners at Doral Publix this year in the younger divisions, where golf is so-correctly more fun than serious, were: Girls’ 7-under, Sofia Temelo, Mexico; Girls’ 8-9, Alexa Pano, Lake Worth; Girls’ 10-11, Cordelia Lopez, Mexico; Girls’ 12-13, Ela Anacona, Argentina; Boys’ 7-under, Michael Nardone, West Palm Beach; Boys’ 8-9, Alex Heard, Boca Raton; Boys’ 10-11, Connery Meyer, Marietta, Ga.; Boys’ 12-13, Dimitri Mary, France.

THAT’S A FACT, JACK

Apollo 14 astronaut Alan Shepard hit two balls on the lunar surface. What club did he use? A 6-iron, and golf is only one of two sports played on the moon. The other, inexplicably, is the javelin throw.

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