Amy Russo learns about golf’s life lessons at Providence’s Button Hole

For better or for worse, golf and I go way back.

When I was a kid growing up in upstate New York, with only a loose grasp of how to play the game, my father, an avid golfer who at the time worked for a bank, would shuttle me to company-sponsored tournaments, mostly to perform hard labor or work as an announcer.

Now that he’s retired, my job is shuttling him around in the cart from hole to hole. This can be a precarious endeavor as he whipsaws between two moods: enthused by a solid swing or irked by an errant shot, which invariably causes him to declare that I’m driving too slowly as he leaps out of the cart while it is still in motion.

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Amy Russo gets some pointers on her golf swing from Button Hole executive director Don Wright.  From its founding, the Providence golf course has had a community approach to growing the sport through its youth programs.

So it was with some trepidation that I picked up a club earlier this month at Providence’s Button Hole golf course. To my relief, the temperament of the players at the driving range — many of whom appeared no older than 12 — was in check.

While the course is open to anyone, the children there are part of the course’s instructional programming, which welcomes students from an array of places, including Providence public schools, Boys & Girls Clubs and other city organizations. These aren’t kids who necessarily bring their own clubs. Most are on school lunch programs and scholarships provided by Button Hole so that they can participate.