PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Special athletes and golfers team up for a special cause.
Golf has been a part of Special Olympics for about 25 years. But that wasn’t always the case.
The Utah Section PGA held a clinic for the Special Olympians back in the early 90’s at the then-Nike Tour event at Riverside Country Club in Provo. From that humble beginning, golf became part of the sports programs in Special Olympics.
“Back in 1991 or 92, starting with that clinic at Riverside CC, the Utah Section has been involved with Special Olympics. That’s 30 years that we’ve been a part of it and we love it,” said Utah Section PGA Executive Director Devin Dehlin. “We’ve been able to keep it going and to see what its done across the country, its really special to the Utah Section.”
Last year they couldn’t hold the even because of the pandemic but everyone was happy to see it back this year.
“It definitely is a highlight and we missed the athletes, we missed having everyone around the banter going on on the putting green,” said Dehlin. “So to have everybody back, normal again, the faces of the athletes and watching you guys miss a shot here or there and there and here and there, yeah exactly.”
“It used to be you come here for the golf and the breakfast and the lunch, but now you come here for these guys,” said former sportscaster Rod Zundel. “They’re like family, haven’t seen them for a year so its like a family reunion.”
“It’s absolutely the funnest day of the year, the partners we play with, the special Olympic athletes, they’re so supportive and so forgiving,” said Fairways Magazine golf writer Kurt Kragthorpe. “Thankfully in my case and they just have a great attitude, it just makes you realize why we all love golf in the first place.”
“Making a play, missing a putt, it’s all good, they’re such such great people, such a great spirit about what they do and feel and they get so excited about the smallest things,” said Deseret News sportswriter Dick Harmon.