By Alaina Majiros
The only thing that outshined the bright colored clothing at this years’ Humana Challenge were the smiles on hundreds of children. This free event was open to children of all ages. I couldn’t wait to interview Ross Kvinge, CEO of PowerBilt and owner of TGA of Coachella Valley. He and his staff and volunteers provided instruction, education of rules and history of golf.
CV Weekly: This was a great idea. The kids had a blast. I didn’t see one unhappy kid out here, how many were here today?
Ross Kvinge: Oh, we had well over 200. This was our fifth year doing this and every year more and more turn out and this was a record year for us. It was a lot of fun.
CV Weekly: This is wonderful. Tell me about the attire and the shoes, what were they required to wear and bring with them today?
Ross Kvinge: Actually, we tell them to just dress lightly. Most of them, you know, do it in tennis shoes and shorts. We supply all the equipment, so really they just need to come on out.
CV Weekly: So they just show up?
Ross Kvinge: Well, they preregister and we have a goody bag for them. We work the age groups so we know we have enough clubs for right hand, left hand and different ages.
CV Weekly: Okay, I understand that. Tell me more about this, what did they walk away with today?
Ross Kvinge: Well, one, we just want them to have fun. You know, to experience golf. We go through quite a bit in learning each station. They have putting, chipping, wedge game, all the way up to the driver. This year we added fitness in the educational sense and we teach them a little bit about the rules and etiquette of golf.
CV Weekly: Tell me more about that.
Ross Kvinge: We have a handbook that we work through our enrichment program [clinics held at schools] and it goes through with lessons, rules, etiquette and history. We found it helped them understand the game, where it came from, where it’s going and what the objectives are.
CV Weekly: So you take them from basic to however much they can learn?
Ross Kvinge: All the way through. Our main focus in after-school enrichment is we introduce them to the game, educate them in golf. We go to their schools and then we start running events like this and different opportunities.
CV Weekly: What is the hardest thing kids learn in golf, is it the swing, is it posture?
Ross Kvinge: We first get them set up and get them going. When they are this little it’s just playing. You get them with their grip, and once you get that set up you let them swing and have fun. You know, they’re all athletic, they’re young, and it makes pretty good progress for them.
CV Weekly: Did you bring out any products for them to buy?
Ross Kvinge: We do over at our booth, you know, that are for kids. We gave away a set of clubs. We auctioned off a bunch of things today like sets of clubs for them to get an opportunity to play more.
CV Weekly: Yeah, I saw that. They thought that was wonderful and they loved it. Well, this event is great, tell us where and when to sign our kids up.
Ross Kvinge: Go online to www.playtga.com and find the Coachella Valley. We are nationwide. Right now, we just launched this in the Fall, so we are just getting started in the schools and we are going to do camps and play days, just bringing in more and more to the valley for the kids.
CV Weekly: Is there a deadline for getting kids signed up?
Ross Kvinge: We are just getting set up. If they go on the site they’ll see all the events we have and they can sort it all out by the event, if it’s an enrichment program, if it’s a camp, if it’s a play day, and all that.
CV Weekly: Great. Is there an age group that you don’t cater to?
Ross Kvinge: Well, as we get into leagues it goes all the way up to 18. We focus on grade schools and we do middle schools, too.
CV Weekly: How much does it cost?
Ross Kvinge: $99 for six weeks.
For more information on the TGA Premier Junior Golf Clinics and school enrichment programs, please visit www.playtga.com
Highlights From The Humana Challenge: