The gift of golf: West Jordan student offers others the chance to play

Published: Friday, April 26 2013 1:10 p.m. MDT

Kalin Peterson, a West Jordan High School student, poses Monday, April 22, 2013 for a photo. Peterson collected used golf clubs and gave them to local girls teams that had players that didn't have their own.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

WEST JORDAN — Kalin Peterson was enjoying a morning round of golf with his stepfather when they ran into delays.

He asked a course employee why the golfers in front of them were so slow.

“I asked someone, and they said they had a girls golf tournament going on,” said Peterson. “They told me a lot of teams had like one or two sets of clubs per team, and there were four or five girls on each team. So they had to share the clubs, which took forever.”

A lot of people would simply grumble about the misfortune of ending up behind inexperienced, ill-equipped golfers. But this 17-year-old West Jordan senior responded much differently.

“It gave me an idea,” said Peterson, who also plays basketball and baseball.

That idea was to ask more experienced golfers to donate clubs to high school girls. He discussed the subject with his mom, Kim Wilson, who helped him come up with a plan.

Their goal was ambitious — collect 48 sets of clubs to equip six high school teams. They started out by writing a letter explaining who he was and why he wanted to help other teens get involved with the game of golf. They went to a Susan G. Komen golf fundraiser where 100 women were swinging clubs to raise money for cancer research.

“I just went there to hand out papers,” he said.

And then his mom adds, “And they asked him to speak.”

He was not prepared to address the crowd, but he did.

“And they all loved it,” said Peterson with a smile. “Even right on the spot, some of them gave me things.” He collected names, phone numbers, addresses and promises of equipment.

“We drove around for weeks picking stuff up after that,” said Wilson. “It kind of went crazy.”

They also made donation bins with his contact information on them, and left them at two Salt Lake County golf courses — Mountain View and Riverbend.

Very quickly their home became a golf warehouse.

“We didn’t have a living room for nine months,” laughed Wilson, pointing to the spot near the kitchen where the family erected their Christmas tree.

As the end of the boys high school golf season neared in October, Peterson had only reached about half of his goal.

“I didn’t think we’d get them all,” he said. They needed to have the clubs ready to go by March when the state’s high school girls golf season began. So he continued to ask for donations while he and his family began cleaning and organizing what they’d already been given. The donations included bags, clubs, tees, balls, shoes, and towels.

“Separating them was a mistake,” said Wilson, with more laughter, as they explained the system they set up to clean and organize all of the donations. In the end, not only did they end up reaching their goal of 48 sets, they had so many spare clubs, shoes and balls, they actually invited teams to come to their West Jordan home to take whatever they needed for their boys teams. One Taylorsville woman gave 800 balls, neatly organized in egg cartons. Some of the sets came from active golfers, while calls came from widows who offered the clubs of their late husbands.

They contacted several schools, and five eagerly accepted the clubs — West Jordan, Kearns, Granger, Hunter and Cyprus. Two other schools — Taylorsville and South Summit — called Peterson, and he provided each of them with eight sets.