Zubeyr Mohamed, who is only 12 years old, gives golf tips to younger students as part of the after-school program, and says he believes golf is becoming more inclusive. More than half of the 1,500 students enrolled in the program at the San Diego golf course are immigrants or refugees.
Zubeyr Mohamed, who is only 12 years old, gives golf tips to younger students as part of an after-school program called Pro Kids at Colina Park Golf Course in San Diego, Public Radio International (PRI) reported.
It’s had him out at the links six days a week for four years. He said he’s also learned some life skills along the way, especially patience and persistence, PRI reported.
“Honestly, you can’t give up on anything,” Mohamed said, “and at the same time, you have to be patient, ‘cause you can’t rush to things, you know?”
Mohamed recently wrote a report for Pro Kids about how golf is becoming a more inclusive sport. “In the old times, mostly rich people and wealthy people wanted to play and said that other people, the common people, could not play.” Mohamed questioned why kids like him—whose parents are from Somalia—couldn’t also enjoy golf, PRI reported.
Pro Kids was founded in 1994 by Ernie Wright, an African American caddie. He wanted to teach golf to disadvantaged youth, while also connecting them with academic tutors, scholarships and trips to pro golf tournaments. He also fixed up the rundown Colina Park Golf Course in City Heights, a heavily immigrant area of San Diego, PRI reported.
The golf course is next to a Pro Kids educational center that offers kids tutoring. More than half of the 1,500 students enrolled at Pro Kids are immigrants or refugees, PRI reported.
Mohamed’s mom, Maha Hussein, said Pro Kids has transformed her son. “My son, he was chubby, he was frustrated after school sitting home,” Hussein said, noting that her son has lost weight since playing golf daily. She also likes that Pro Kids offers her son some structure while she’s working 56-hour weeks as an elder care provider. And she sees the program’s academic support paying off; Mohamed is earning straight A’s, PRI reported.
“Since the kids are playing now, I feel like they’re achieving more,” Hussein said.
Keith Padgett runs the Pro Kids program and has a theory about why it works: Children learn geometry and physics on the golf course, PRI reported.
“It’s all about angles. Your swing is an arc,” he said. “We have kids learning how different surfaces affect the rolling of the ball.”
Padgett added that golf is the rare sport where players must call penalties on themselves. “If that ball moves, you take a penalty. You call it on yourself, you don’t need somebody over here to say you just violated a rule—you’re supposed to report that.”