No rainout for launch of Kaua‘i Junior Golf

LIHU‘E — Kaua‘i beginning golfers will have an opportunity for hands-on experience Saturday when two golf courses on Kaua‘i open their doors to Hawai‘i Junior golfers.

The announcement was a reminder to the more than 100 people who braved the late-afternoon rains to attend the opening meeting for the Kaua‘i Junior Golf Association, Wednesday at the Elsie Wilcox Elementary School cafeteria.

Puakea Golf Course and the Princeville Makai Golf Club will be the sites where the Hawai‘i State Junior Golf Association and the Aloha Section PGA are partnering to present the Hawai‘i Golf Day starting at registration starting at 8:30 a.m. and the first clinics opening at 9 a.m.

The purpose of the event is to introduce Hawai‘i’s young golfers between the ages of 5 through 17 who have never played, or are beginners to the game of golf by providing them with a fun and free golf experience.

Age appropriate equipment provided by US Kids Clubs and Starting New at Golf (SNAG) will be available for children who do not have equipment.

The clinics will be led by PGA and LPGA Professionals and volunteers.

Earlier in the afternoon, Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. presented Mary Bea Porter-King, the past president of the Kaua‘i Junior Golf Association, with a proclamation celebrating Feb. 29 as “Mary Bea Porter-King Day” for the many accomplishments she has done and efforts she puts back into the game of golf.

Named the 2011 PGA First Lady of Golf, Porter-King was honored for her outstanding achievements during the PGA of America Awards in January in Orlando, Florida, some of their accomplishments including being a four-sport collegiate athlete, LPGA Tour veteran, a Junior Golf pioneer in Hawai‘i, and being one of the country’s most respected Rules officials.

During the presentation, Porter-King noted the number of times Kaua‘i County Council members as well as her friends she golfs with alluded to “Mary Bea’s Rules.”

“It’s not my rules,” Porter-King said. “It’s rules of the game.”

Porter-King, in 1998, co-founded the Hawai‘i State Junior Golf Association, and through today, continues to share her knowledge and resources with Junior Golfers, providing them with an opportunity to compete in golf tournaments throughout the Hawaiian Islands and on the Mainland.

Team Kaua‘i, made up of Kaua‘i Junior Golf Association members, took the stage as Carvalho presented the team members with appropriate Certificates of Achievement for bringing home the Kaua‘i-Atlanta Challenge Cup after edging past the Atlanta, Georgia team by a mere point earlier this summer at the goodwill tournament played at the Wailua Golf Course.

Team Kaua‘i members, whose eligibility is determined through tournament results through a specified period this year, will be traveling to Atlanta to defend their title of this annual goodwill tournament.

Porter-King served as the past president of the Kaua‘i Junior Golf Association, founded in the 1960s by four Kaua‘i golfers — Chica Ishii, Toyo Shirai, Mitchell Ota and Tom Tomimoto — who, besides their love of golf, shared a desire to introduce youngsters to the sport and a willingness to help them develop their golf skills, said Sam Pratt who succeeded Porter-King as president of KJGA.

KJGA, behind the support of Porter-King, inducted into the Hawai‘i Golf Hall of Fame, and the numerous parents and volunteers , has provided an opportunity for hundreds of youth athletes to excel.

Visit www.kjga.org or www.hsjga.org for more information.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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