Written by
Joy Chakravarty
Mar 21 2024
- 3 min

HONG KONG – Wherever they are going, the Iron Heads are making friends and winning fans.

The Hong Kong week was no different.

On Tuesday of LIV Golf Hong Kong, the Kevin Na-led team joined hands with Kau Sai Chau, the only public golf course in the city, inviting 30 students from three primary schools to learn about golf etiquette and how to leave their course in a better shape after a round.

The kids specifically learned how to fill divots, and why it is such an important part of golf.

It did not end there. A putting competition was also held, following which two kids – winners of the boys’ and girls’ competition – were chosen to become Iron Heads’ ambassadors for the week. Both were given special access to the tournament, including walking inside the ropes with the Iron Heads players and spending time with them.

In fact, Iron Heads distributed 80 season tickets to the kids, and many of them were present at LIV Golf Hong Kong accompanied by their parents.

“I have never seen a more enthusiastic bunch of people running around the golf course filling divots,” said Shane Kuiti, Head of Golf Operations at Kau Sai Chau.

“We have a program at our club, GoFun, which is sponsored by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. We are in 59 primary schools and of those, golf is a PE subject in about 80 per cent of them. So, it’s incorporated into the school curriculum. Our goal is to get 10 per cent of primary schools in Hong Kong as part of GoFun and we’re pretty close to that number.

“There was a lot of excitement here in Hong Kong about LIV Golf coming to town, and when we got this mail from the Iron Heads on doing something with grassroots golf, we jumped at the opportunity. What followed from that on Tuesday was a very enjoyable outing for the kids.”

Chan Wai Hung, a teaching professional at Kau Sai Chau, led the program alongside Kelli Bowers, Iron Heads’ Director of Team Operations, and other team staff. It included 22 boys and eight girls.

The event at Kau Sai Chau was part of Iron Heads’ community outreach program, through which they are doing their bit to grow the game. It follows a clinic that Captain Na held with members of Golf Saudi’s development team in Jeddah last week, and will also see future activations when LIV Golf travels to Miami in April.

“I think we are trying to really focus on the First Tee kind of principles,” said Bowers when asked why Iron Heads decided to do something with golf etiquette. “It’s trying to do something that’s more than just playing golf. Part of playing golf is taking care of your equipment, taking care of your body, taking care of the golf course and respecting your fellow players and rules.

“What these kids have tried to do with the golf course is what we want to do… we want to come into these communities and make them better than what we got there. Our hope now, when we come back here, is to take it one step further. We want to look at potentially sponsoring one of their tournaments or continuing this even when we have left the town.”

Bowers said there was a higher motive for Iron Heads than just to grow their own fan base.

“We’re trying to get more fans and with the way our team is made, we felt Hong Kong would be a great place to do something like this,” explained Bowers.

“But it’s not necessarily about the Iron Heads. We are happy to do this for LIV Golf, and more importantly, for the game of golf.

“We understand our position. We don’t have a Dustin Johnson or a Jon Rahm, but we have people that can make an impact. If we can get people out here on the golf course, and even if our team isn’t their favorite, it’s great that we are helping them see their favorites and start loving the game even more. They’re going to remember that.”

During the tournament, Captain Na and team members Danny Lee, Scott Vincent and Jinichiro Kozuma also visited the SKH Wing Chun Primary School and interacted with the students. The players regaled the children with their shot-making with beginners’ equipment and helped them learn the basics of the game in a fun manner.

Na said: “That’s what we are as Iron Heads. Growing the game is an important part of what we do. I am a father of three young kids and it gives me great joy when they are having fun with golf. And that’s what we want to do wherever we go as part of LIV Golf…try and make golf for young people. Even if a couple of them become interested and start pursuing it seriously, we would consider it a job well done.”