Herb Whetsell believes golf is a great way to help steer kids in the right direction and keep them off the streets.

The game, and sports in general, can help to keep them out of trouble.

As general manager of the Charleston Municipal Golf Course on James Island, he encourages parents to bring kids to golf clinics during the summer.

They are taught etiquette, how to hit the ball and course knowledge.

If children are not pushed early into something constructive, they will go to the streets, he said. Whetsell knows.

He is a retired major with the Charleston Police Department.

Golfers teach kids

The city offers several clinics each summer, and for $10, kids can play from 4 p.m. till dark.

Whetsell said that simply hitting balls on the driving range can make a difference. “We want kids over here.”

Marshall Ormand, head professional and a clinic instructor, said kids have fun learning to putt and chip.

Golf is an individual sport that you can play for a lifetime. “You compete against yourself,” he said.

Ormand said that while the clinics are popular, few minority kids attend. He encourages parents to bring their children out.

The city tries to keep the game affordable so everyone can play.

Also, golfers donate clubs that can be cut down to accommodate children.

Whetsell also encourages more adults to play.

He said the complex offers programs tailored to meet the needs of those who have never picked up a golf club to those who have played for years.

If you don’t know a driver from a 9 iron but have always been curious, it might be time to check out “The Muni.”

Private lessons and adult clinics are available. And Wednesday afternoons offer special rates for women of all skill levels.

With the PGA in the Lowcountry, it might be the right time to check it out.

‘He is my boy’

On Sunday, the PGA Sports Academy held a youth clinic for kids from various organizations, and PGA golfers showed them how to chip, pitch and putt.

Dwight Hudson of North Charleston doesn’t play golf, but he attended the clinic with son, John Florence, 16.

Golf has helped John with discipline, responsibility, maturity and self-control.

“He is still a kid, a teenager but golf is the center,” Hudson said.

John’s biological father died a few years ago, but “he is not a stepson; he is my boy, a great kid,” Hudson said.

A junior at Stall High, John is a member of The First Tee, a youth organization to teach golf and its values. He also started a golf program last year at Stall.

If you watch the PGA tournament Sunday, look for John. Dad said he is a helper on one of the upper holes. And he is excited. John is, too.

For more information about children and adult golf clinics and classes, call 795-6517.

Reach City Editor Shirley A. Greene at 937-5555 or sgreene@postandcourier.com.