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Havens wants to make golf accessible for everyone

By Staff | May 19, 2011

Pictured with volunteers, Dave Havens recently coordinated the first Spare Change Open at Kaanapali.

LAHAINA — Perhaps the most endearing quality of the Lahaina community is the benevolence of many of the people who live here. This philosophy of contribution by constituents is clearly evident in the efforts of Kaanapali Assistant Golf Professional Dave Havens and his Spare For Change organization.

A nonprofit still in its early stages of development, Spare For Change was started here on the West Side about a year ago to help kids and adults be able to participate and excel in the game of golf.

“Through Spare For Change, I want to break down the stereotypes of golf as being a rich man’s sport and help people become self-sufficient in the game,” said Havens last week.

“I want to teach kids and adults alike how to play the game, maintain courses, and how to repair and recycle clubs.”

Havens himself began playing golf at age ten in Virginia and continued to persevere in the game until he won a scholarship at Virginia Tech after walking onto the team. In 1998, he qualified for the South African Professional tour.

He earned a degree in marketing and management from Virginia Tech and then started a youth program in Bhutan in the Himalayas and another in Nepal.

“We were trying to establish programs with hopes to even get to the Olympics someday,” Havens said.

“Kind of like that Jamaican bobsled team. I just want to get kids, and adults, involved in the game — teach them how to compete.”

For his 30th birthday, Havens moved to Maui and started working at Kapalua and Kaanapali.

“This is the best place I’ve ever lived, and I’ve been on five continents, including North America, England, Africa, Australia and Asia. I just want to teach the rich and the poor how to enjoy this game. I get enjoyment and satisfaction out of doing this and hope to instill a work ethic and positive attitude in the people I work with.”

Recently, Havens put on the first Spare Change Open at Kaanapali.

“We had over 120 players come out for the tournament, and it was a great success. People like Dave Mello at Roundtable Pizza and Ed Kageyama of Kaanapali Golf provide so much support for these kinds of programs. I just hope other pros will see the success of this and help others like people have helped me in the past,” he said.

“We have good youth players here, and they need to get exposure to college coaches on the Mainland. I want to help people anyway I can. I know I’ll take some lumps and losses along the way, but it’s all worth it when I see how fast things have caught on over here.”

Back in March, Havens donated a day of golf lessons at Kaanapali to help Malu Rosenthal and Marissa Uradomo, two up-and-coming high school players here on Maui, raise money to make a trip to Orlando, Florida, for a junior event there. The day of lessons raised over $2,000 for them.

“We are so impressed with Coach Dave’s effort to give back to junior golf. It inspires us to do the same when it comes to the day that we can do so,” said Rosenthal.

To learn more about Spare For Change, call (808) 298-8012.