Most of us were introduced to the game of golf by someone who was inspired to share their passion—whether it was a great teaching pro, an encouraging family member, or a dear friend who promised, “No seriously, it will be fun!”But it isn’t so simple for everyone. Golf continues to fight the stereotype of a sport for the rich and elite, meaning many who could fall in love with the game will never have the chance to give it a try. That’s where David Havens comes in.
Havens, the Director of Instruction at one of my all-time favourite golf resorts, Ka’anapali Golf, understands the power of a donated golf club better than anyone.
The PGA Professional got his own start thanks to Petey Johnson, the Pro and Superintendent at Wytheville Golf Club, who gave him an old 1-iron and taught him how to swing it.
Havens, who went on to play collegiate golf at Virginia Tech, credits the game for a successful career, countless travel opportunities, his dream job in paradise and his beautiful family.
In the ultimate example of playing it forward, Havens established Spare for Change. The non-profit provides second-hand golf clubs to those who are interested in learning to golf, but can’t afford the expensive equipment themselves. Spare for Change also provides instruction, club repair, and anything else needed to develop a lifelong passion along the way.
When Havens sees the spark catch fire in a newbie to the game, he continues to feed it oxygen, providing additional clubs to keen players until they have a full set. To date over 8,000 golf clubs have been given away throughout every American state and many developing countries.
Spare for Change functions mainly on a by-donation basis, but also relies on two annual fundraising tournaments played on my favorite island track, and Havens’ home course, Ka’anapali Royal.
This summer’s Spare for Change Fundraiser will be played Saturday, July 18th. The $125 entry fee will get you lunch, dinner, and a super fun scramble-format round (If you’re lucky you might be able to play with a few hickory clubs David keeps on hand for special events). What better way to give back to the game, than to enjoy an afternoon on the links? If you aren’t able to play, but still want to contribute through club donation or sponsoring a hole, please contact David directly.
Next time you’re walking down a manicured fairway on a sunny afternoon, take a moment to appreciate how fortunate we all are to enjoy the greatest game on earth. And then consider playing the opportunity forward and passing on one of many lessons we golfers can still stand to learn from people like David Havens.