11 Apr 2022
Since Button Hole opened more than two decades ago, its mission has been clear: to make golf affordable and accessible for everyone – regardless of ethnicity, financial status, age, gender, or physical ability.
Button Hole was created when a 26-acre abandoned gravel pit situated between Hartford and Manton avenues in Providence was turned into an “oasis of green” featuring a public, 9-hole course and driving range.
Making golf affordable and accessible for everyone
More than just the fundamentals in golf are taught here in the middle of Providence’s urban core. Button Hole uses golf as a vehicle to teach life lessons that extend well beyond the greens. The non-profit organization strives to enrich the lives of youth and teens by providing facilities and programs that develop strong character, teach life values, respect, etiquette, leadership, and success through the game of golf.
The public facility located steps away from Hartford Avenue has lived up to its promise and has provided over 20,000 local youth with access to instructional programs. More than 50 percent have received “scholarships” and have participated at no cost.
For the past few summers – in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, when cancellations and limitations for youth activities were abundant – Button Hole expanded its mission and was able to provide a unique opportunity for youth from Pawtucket and Providence. More than 250 youths of color from the Boys & Girls Club of Pawtucket, Boys & Girls Clubs of Providence, and 11 Providence recreation centers were able to participate in a FREE 7-week summer golf camp at Button Hole. In addition to instruction, equipment and transportation, lunch and golf shirts were provided for each of the participants. Mentors were often on hand to share tips about the course and offer advice.
Now, with support from the Papitto Opportunity Connection (POC), Button Hole will expand its summer youth program into a year-round program that will continue to focus on providing golf opportunities and mentorships on and off the golf course for youths and teens of color throughout Rhode Island.
“We are incredibly appreciative of the support from the Papitto Opportunity Connection,” said Don Wright, Button Hole’s executive director. “We are looking forward to expanding our reach in our neighboring communities and increasing the number of kids we serve.”
As part of the expansion, Button Hole will grow its partnership with local youth services organizations, including John Hope Settlement House, area schools and local affordable housing authority units including Hartford Park, Manton, and Chad Brown to recruit more youths and teens of color to participate in its program.
The POC funding will also allow Button Hole to expand its programming to include entire families and provide mentorships, skills development, leadership training and more diverse instructors.
“With the POC investment we will continue to make a positive impact and provide an incredible opportunity for youth who most likely would not only not have a chance to play the game, but to learn all the life lessons golf teaches. This is about more than just golf,” said Wright.