Kohler, Wis. - Excitement permeated the air after fireworks boomed on the driving range at Whistling Straits golf course on Tuesday afternoon. However, it was not from an early Fourth of July celebration. More than 600 kids watched an exploding golf ball and other trick shots as part of the Dennis Walters Golf Show.
There was no shortage of laughter and learning for those in attendance, including state dignitary Herb Kohler, who
|Using one of his props, Dennis Walters brings out a few giggles Tuesday. (John Mummert/USGA)
introduced the famed golfer. Walters, paralyzed from the waist down as the result of an accident 30 years ago, provided the audience with dazzling shots. More important were his messages of inspiration.
"When you practice hard you can be really successful and do good things," said Jennifer Rutten, an 8 year old in attendance when asked about what she learned.
Her older sister Courtney Rutten added, "If I try hard I can be good too."
The kids in attendance were not the only ones walking away with smiles on their faces. Cindy Brotz of Sheboygan, celebrating her 50
thbirthday, took away a similar outlook as most kids.
"He offered a lot of inspiration with a good sense of humor" she said.
The Dennis Walters show was part of a series of day-long events for juniors at the U.S. Senior Open. Attendance was free for kids, and all were given a "Catch the Spirit" hat, which was engulfed by autographs for most by the end of the day.
Kids also were able to participate in the Drive, Chip and Putt challenge presented by The Golf Channel on the Irish course at Whistling Straits. Trevor Schueter, 14, experiencing his first championship, had his thoughts about how he'd fare on the nearby Straits course.
"It would be pretty tough, for me at least," he said.
He could only laugh when he was told that some of the Senior Open field, most whom have played professionally since before he was born, might just be thinking the same way.