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Schools can help nurture interest for young golfers

Growing the game begins at home for all of us: Make golfers feel welcome, Houstonian urges

Mike Purkey has some good ideas about inclusion at the golf course (“Golf faces its day of reckoning for inclusion,” June 24). His triangle of equipment, access and mentorship is probably a bare minimum of the barriers that exist. I would add interest to his triangle.

Kids of all races really aren’t attracted to golf like they are to other sports. However, Houston has a viable First Tee program, and the late President George H.W. Bush was a vocal supporter and local representative of it. I do see those kids at golf courses here. So, there are some kids who want to play.

My own observations of kids and golf in my area of Houston reveal that schools provide access to golf courses. Perhaps school is where recruitment can take place and interest can be generated. Schools in minority communities would have to receive support for the triangle. Mentor programs already exist in many schools for academics and reading programs. Volunteer mentors at the course could help kids pick up the game.

Growing the game is a challenge as Purkey’s triangle is applicable to most kids outside the most privileged class regardless of race. Growing the game is challenging in the best of circumstances, but growing the game in areas where poverty reigns may prove to be too impractical. That’s no reason not to try.

I would suggest that making others feel welcome at your course when they show up (and they do show up) may be the single biggest and practical thing we can do to include everyone who wants to play.

Daryl Lott

A color-blind solution
Even though pro golf is a sport in which only the score matters, Mike Purkey posits that there aren't enough black players on the pro tours, so the game needs to do something (“Golf faces its day of reckoning for inclusion,” June 24).

So, he presents ideas to get access to golf for kids who show talent but live in poverty.

Agreed. But why should any youth golf program be limited only to impoverished kids of a certain skin color? Isn't that the opposite of “inclusion”?

Allen Freeman
Brecksville, Ohio

This so-called fiasco doesn’t merit a raised eyebrow
So, one player testing positive for COVID-19 (now two, with Cameron Champ) represents a “fiasco” for the PGA Tour? (“PGA Tour’s ‘bubble’ bursts with Nick Watney fiasco,” June 22).

I suppose we all have different perspectives.

Upon hearing this news, I couldn’t even muster the energy for a raised eyebrow.

The real “story” from this viewpoint would be if no PGA Tour player ever tested positive. That would be very surprising, if not shocking.

Here’s where I think it’s going: assuming testing at each site, each week, I expect 15-25 players to test positive this season.

Of those, I expect half will not even realize they had it. See Cameron Champ’s reaction.

Of the remainder, they may feel bad for a while, then recover fairly quickly. After all, these are young, vibrant professional athletes.

As long as they don’t make any charitable visits to nursing homes and hospitals to visit truly frail and sick people, things will be fine.


I don’t have much second-guessing for the lockdowns, as we were dealing with a new virus.

But I also realize this can’t continue forever, and the time has come to start learning how to live with the new normal, slowly but surely.

Add COVID-19 to the list of bugs and viruses going around each year of which sensible precautions need to be taken.

I applaud the PGA Tour for getting back in action with some reasonable and sensible plans.

Jon Lucas
Little Rock, Ark.

One man’s ‘debacle’ is another man’s ‘excellent job’
Regarding Alex Miceli’s recent article about Nick Watney testing positive for COVID-19 (“PGA Tour’s ‘bubble’ bursts with Nick Watney fiasco,” June 22): How, exactly, is one player getting infected out of 144 a “debacle”? Or, one out of 288, plus or minus, if you add Colonial?

That’s a pretty favorable success rate, if you ask me.

The PGA Tour has done an excellent job in getting the Tour back up and running, with minimal risk to all of the stakeholders.

I have no issues with the Tour’s actions. I am glad to see tournament golf back on.

Jeff York

Miceli should have second thoughts about ‘Second City’
Alex Miceli needs to look at the reality of the world we live in (“PGA Tour’s ‘bubble’ bursts with Nick Watney fiasco,” June 22). He has a greater chance of dying walking the streets of Chicago than he does walking the fairways on the PGA Tour.

Dennis Dalton
Collinsville, Ill.

For the sake of others, don’t dismiss coronavirus concerns
As a daily consumer of Morning Read, I was both dismayed and disturbed to read Larry Ashe’s letter Wednesday (“From the Morning Read inbox,” June 24).

Ashe’s argument that the threat from coronavirus should be minimized is both moronic and emblematic of the sheer ignorance practiced by the few who endanger the many. Unlike each of the other diseases Ashe cites and misappropriates to make his highly-flawed point, we have no proven therapy or vaccine to treat COVID-19. It is a highly infectious and transmissible virus, making it a very dangerous bug. We know very, very little about this virus. What happens when and if it starts mutating, as most viruses do?

Surely, we are lucky that it spares so many, but it does kill randomly and with deadly efficiency, especially amongst the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions. Should a child in Illinois with leukemia, or a middle-aged person in Alabama suffering from obesity or asthma (but otherwise healthy) be vulnerable to an early and grueling early death to sate Ashe’s desire to minimize or eliminate viable protocols (i.e., masks or fan-less sporting events)?

He goes on to warn us of “hobo camps and soup kitchens,” if we shrewdly and proactively practice safe social distancing and respiratory protections. This verbal shrieking is both misleading and appalling. It’s proven in states such as New York and New Jersey that smart practices have flattened the infection curve and are creating safer environments for their citizens. My neighbors might not like wearing their masks amongst others, eating outside, or other temporary limitations, but unlike the author they are willing to sacrifice a little comfort and convenience for the safety of their neighbors, friends and families. It’s too bad that Larry Ashe and others fail to understand.

Steven Lapper
Far Hills, N.J.
(Lapper is a co-owner of Fox Hollow Golf Club in Branchburg, N.J.)

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