‘Treat them like All-Stars’: Wells Fargo Championship holds golf clinic for children with special needs

Written by Cam Gaskins for WBTV

On the first day of the Wells Fargo Championship week in Charlotte, a group of special kids were reminded that the game of golf is for everyone.

The tournament, in partnership with the Tesori Family Foundation and First Tee – Greater Charlotte, hosted the “All-Star Kids Clinic,” a golf clinic for kids ages 8 to 18 with different special needs and disabilities.

PGA Tour caddie Paul Tesori started the Tesori Family Foundation in 2014 when his son Isaiah was born with Down Syndrome. He wanted to create opportunities for kids with special needs to learn to love the game that he devoted his life to.

“So what we want is to be able to turn the way we get treated every week [on the PGA Tour] and turn it to them,” Tesori said. “If we get treated like that every week, let’s treat them like that as often as we can.”

The Tesori Family Foundation hosts clinics like this at various PGA Tour locations across the country. Since this week’s event took place in the Queen City, Tesori enlisted the help of long-time friend and Charlotte local Webb Simpson, for whom he also caddied for over a decade.

“Days like today, again, give me perspective of what’s really important in life,” Simpson said. “Bringing a fun day, bringing smiles to people’s faces is way more important than making birdies.”

Monday’s event offered a chance for the kids in attendance to learn the game of golf in a way that otherwise might have been unavailable to them.

At the heart of it all, the day was about taking these special kids and making them feel like All-Stars, a sentiment not lost on the parents of the participants.

“It’s really, really special to have him kind of be the center of attention for a positive thing that’s not a doctor’s appointment,” said Jesanne Roden-Reynolds, whose son Wesley got to participate in the clinic for the first time.

The Wells Fargo Championship begins Thursday morning with the first round at Quail Hollow Golf Club.