golf inclusion monthly

Programs In Focus

Birdies and Smiles

By Kevin Corn, PGA

Innovative junior golf program helping kids in pediatric hospitals get better while learning the game of a lifetime.

To contribute to the Ranken Jordan junior golf program or to ask any questions please e-mail me at This blog is not affiliated with Ranken Jordan. The views expressed on this blog are those of the author and not those of Ranken Jordan. Thank you for reading!

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"I Had Fun!"

"If we couldn't laugh we would all go insane." -- Jimmy Buffett

Spend much time around me and you will either hear Jimmy Buffett's music or me quoting lyrics from his music. One of the many things I love about Jimmy's music is how fun it is -- there are so many songs that immediately bring a smile to your face or bring sunshine on a lousy day. I was reminded of this line from "Changes In Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes" during a recent golf clinic at Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital.

We had a new junior golfer walk up to join us and I was immediately told by our soon-to-be golfer that they had never touched a golf club, but looked forward to learning. Due to the injuries that are the reason this youngster is a patient at Ranken Jordan, they have poor flexibility and dexterity in their hands. Our junior golfer initially believed this would be a problem, but that thought was quickly changed! We spent a couple of minutes talking about how fun Ranken Jordan is and then got started learning a new sport. After a few minutes getting the stance and set up just right, I assured our junior golfer that I would help hold the club and swing it.

As is usually the case, my help was needed for all of two or three swings. Our new junior golfer immediately gained all the confidence needed to make swings without any help! I went back to doing what I do best and kept teeing up golf balls. Shot after shot went dead straight and right into the target net! Swing after swing, shot after shot, smile after smile, we both were laughing and having a great time. This continued non-stop for about 15 minutes before our new junior golfer told us "I'm tired and done, but I had fun and want to play golf again!"

You would think after over 11 years of weekly junior golf clinics at Ranken Jordan that I would not be surprised by reactions like this. Smiling, laughing, having fun, and being kids, allows the amazing medically complex children to heal faster and get their lives back. To think that golf plays a small role in that is a very humbling feeling. Watching the kids have the opportunity to see that they can do something and seeing them smile, always has me smiling while I am with them and long after I have to leave. Every week I look forward to Wednesday afternoons when the kids will be smiling and I will be smiling. And as I get older and look in the mirror each morning, all the smiling reminds me of another Jimmy Buffett song lyric: "wrinkles only go where the smiles have been." I am ready for next Wednesday and more smiles!

Posted by Kevin Corn at 10:32 PM