For many golfers, the game can be easy to take for granted. Etiquette often goes by the wayside because we always expect things to go our way. That’s not the case for Special Olympians like Tyler Whitehurst, a recent gold medalist whose three-round score of 255 took home the gold at the PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
A lot of golfers will be upset if there are no golf carts available. But for Tyler Whitehurst, suffering from autism, having the endurance to play the 18 holes was a blessing, not a setback. “When Tyler started playing golf, he only had endurance for about four holes,” said Amy Whitehurst, Tyler’s mother. “When we signed him up for Special Olympics, he had to learn and build up the stamina to play nine holes.”
For a lot of amateur golfers, setting a personal record is a nice day on the course, not a life-changing event. But Tyler Whitehurst’s goal-reaching determination proved life-changing for him. “What’s so amazing about that is that he’d never had an opportunity to set a goal, and get that sense of self and feeling of pride to reach it,” Amy Whitehurst said.
Finally, many of us overlook the importance of etiquette and dismiss it as a small, even optional part of the game. For Whitehurst and the other Special Olympians, the social aspect of golf was one of its greatest rewards. As Amy Whitehurst said, “The manners he’s learned through golf, the etiquette, having a great attitude and being positive — all of it, Special Olympics totally change his life.”
Bringing etiquette back to the game with the WISP golf tool
Far too many us fail to appreciate the intrinsic rewards of golf. We forget that the lessons and experiences of practicing good etiquette on the golf course can translate to a better attitude off the golf course. When we forget about these added facets of the game, our etiquette and manners fall by the wayside – and we focus solely on our best score.
As Special Olympians like Tyler Whitehurst continue to demonstrate, however, personal improvement can come out of good golf habits – not just an improved handicap. That’s why we here at Ediquete LLC place such a high emphasis on bringing etiquette, courtesy and common respect back to the game. As far as we’re concerned, it’s not enough to improve your skills to hit a longer, straighter ball: to be truly great, it’s necessary to leave the green better than you found it.
The WISP golf tool – which allows you to wisp sand and debris off the green after bunker shots with incredible efficiency and ease – is a simple solution to a common etiquette problem, and a great reminder to golfers at any level that course upkeep and player courtesy are intended to be part of the routine. As Tyler Whitehurst shows us, the rewards of showing a little kindness around the golf course can go a long way: why not try it yourself?