Event put on to expand golf base

Golf with Goldy will bring in kids from across to the area for the golfing clinic.

by Austin Cumblad

Minnesota fans are accustomed to seeing Goldy Gopher on the field, on the court and on the ice, but in less than two weeks, he’ll be seen somewhere less typical: on the course.

Young golfers from all over the Twin Cities will get to see how talented Goldy is with a club in his paws Saturday at the second-annual “Golf With Goldy” event, hosted by the Minnesota men’s and women’s golf teams at the University’s Les Bolstad golf course.

The inaugural event last year brought about 60 kids, ages 0-18, and men’s associate head coach Andrew Tank expects an even larger turnout this year. He said in addition to Les Bolstad, “Golf With Goldy” is being promoted at local courses that are part of the Minnesota Golf Association.

But while Goldy promises to be entertaining, the kids in attendance will receive much more than a show.

The men and women of the Gophers’ golf program will be on hand to not only offer instruction, sign autographs and take pictures, but also share with the children their love of a game that has shaped a good part of their lives.

“I think it’s really important to spread the game,” senior Emily Brand said. “Hopefully it impacts others the way it’s impacted me.”

Obviously, not every youngster that attends the event will end up playing in college, but golf is unique in its potential to be a lifelong endeavor.

“Golf is a sport you don’t have to play Division I; you can always play it,” associate head coach Kristine Wessinger said. “You don’t have to go play at the next level Ö and there’s not many sports where that’s the case.”

Still, she thinks meeting and interacting with players at one of the finest golf schools in the nation gives young kids something to aspire to and exposes them to a game that teaches valuable lessons.

In a game that is often as frustrating as it is rewarding, junior Paige Bromen said those introduced to golf when young learn to embrace challenges.

“Say you hit a bad drive and end up behind a tree,” she said. “You can give up on that hole or fight back. I think (golf) teaches people to not give up and meet a challenge head-on.”

Senior Clayton Rask hopes to pass on his love of the sport’s camaraderie to the young event-goers.

“That’s probably one of the biggest things I’ve gotten out of the game,” he said. “To go week-in and week-out to tournaments with friends from all over the world makes the experience that much more fun.”

But ultimately, Minnesota golfers relish the opportunity to give back to a game that has given them so much.

“I love the chance to give back what I’ve learned and what I’ve experienced to those that can benefit from it as well,” Rask said.