Since he was 5 years old, golf was a part of David Kite’s life. His father, Tom, was a touring pro and a very successful one.
“Before we started school and during the summers, we traveled with Dad everywhere,” says David. When David started playing in his own tournaments as a young boy he readily admits, “Golf was my main thing.”
Kite was good enough to earn a college scholarship to the University of South Carolina where he played from 2003-2007. He met his wife, Hunter, in Columbia, and after graduation, they moved to Charleston where he served as an assistant coach at the College of Charleston. In 2012, Kite became the director of instruction at Stono Ferry Golf Links and immediately became one the Lowcountry’s top golf teachers.
The game of golf teaches life lessons, in many ways. What happens when that little white ball goes into a hazard or jumps out of bounds? It forces players of all skill levels to deal with adversity and the unexpected.
Two months ago, Kite, now 34, decided to leave the game, opting for another calling. “The hardest part about what I did was leaving golf. I enjoyed teaching it to others. I was good at it,” Kite recently explained. He had been connected to the game since he was a toddler and glibly confesses that “... golf is who I am in a lot of ways.”
It’s not who he is anymore.
From putting to the pulpit
Kite has decided to enter the ministry, full-time. He feels God gifted him with the ability to pass along information. From now on, he’ll be dealing with a different subject matter.
For the next couple of years, Kite will drive back and forth to seminary at Columbia International University some 90 miles each way. He’ll take two classes, one day a week.
He’s already become one of the pastors at The River Church, which meets each Sunday at Orange Grove Elementary in West Ashley. He already does a fair amount of the teaching at the non-denominational church. Now it will have his full-time attention and devotion.
How did his dad react to his decision to leave the game they both love?
“He was extremely supportive. We’ll always have a connection because of golf, but he’s always been helpful in many of my decisions.”
Just last year, Tom and David teamed up to finish in the top five of a father-son event in Florida. They’ve been invited back and David says he’ll dust off the clubs and look forward to being on the golf course again with the man who introduced him to the game.
This time, though, David will not be introduced as a teaching pro but as Pastor Kite.
No Kite strings attached
If only what’s been mentioned above is all you knew about David and his wife, Hunter, then you’d know quite a bit. But there’s an additional layer to the parental aspect of their lives.
David constantly refers to what it means to have a heart of a Christian. “It is our responsibility to see brokenness and to respond,” says Kite. Practicing what they preach, the couple adopted a little girl named Adaya, at birth. Adaya, now 5 years old, is African-American.
The Kite’s know there will be questions and challenges ahead and they intend to embrace them head-on. David and Hunter didn’t specify or place limitations during the adoption process. “We believe God brought Adaya to our family,” Kite firmly states.
Kite also knows that tougher conversations may surface later with his daughter about adoption and race.
If you want to make David grin ear-to-ear, ask how his father relates to his granddaughter. “He’s,” his voice trails off and the smile overtakes his face, “he’s awesome with her.”
It sounds to me like David Kite is merely taking his message of service and faith and love to a different fairway. The game of golf will miss him, but there will still be an excellent teacher in our midst.