Local golf clinic giving kids the chance to take away more than just lessons

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Updated: 8/25/2012 10:38 pm
A patient at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, 13-year-old Brady Sparkman is going on his fifth year participating in the "Learn to Golf" clinic.

"I like to have fun a lot, and each time I come, I get to learn something new, like how to hit the ball better," Brady said.

And while he's learning to perfect his swing, he is coming away with much more than just the tricks of the trade.

The clinic, held at Rawls Golf Course this weekend, is designed for children with physical disabilities. Sam Sparkman says kids like his son, who has cerebral palsy, take away more than golf lessons.

"They learn to push themselves, and develop and compete," Sparkman said, "but it's kind of competing with your own skills, and not worrying about what everybody else is doing."

"Some of the parents have given me feedback such as, it helps improve their child's balance, or self confidence," said Dana Dempsey, who founded the program back in 1998. "Often times, it has increased concentration, coordination. There is a wide range. More friends, they're more open to try new things."

Dempsey said golf gives these kids a sense of belonging, and opens a variety of doors.

"From the playing of the golf to people that they meet, friendships that they make," Dempsey said. "You start to get to know people and have networking. So that helps you with school, or potentially as they get older, can help with careers."

"It was kind of something new, and they said, 'Come on over here and we'll see how it goes, and if you like it, you know, come back,'" Brady said, "and i've just made a lot of new friends, and I like to meet new people here."

Though he's now no stranger to the sport known as the gentleman's game, Brady said he is just getting started.
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