With seven grandchildren of his own, professional golfer Rod Spittle is also a pro at reading to kids.
The member of PGA Tour Champions came to Calgary from Florida on Thursday to give back and read to kindergarten kids at Calgary’s PREP program school.
The PREP program is for kids with Down syndrome. The school provides early intervention to help their students succeed at home, at school and in the community.
PREP program executive director Barbara Tien said Spittle was the perfect choice to connect with her kids.
“Often the golfers don’t really appreciate the impact they have on the community,” Tien said. “For him, as a father and grandfather, it was very special for him to meet the kids and know that he’s making a difference.”
WATCH: Canadian PGA Tour Champions player Rod Spittle joins Global News Morning Calgary to discuss his last Shaw Charity Classic appearance before retirement and why he is in town to help launch the golf season.
Every summer Spittle, who grew up in Niagara Falls, Ont., makes the trek from his home in the United States to compete at the Shaw Charity Classic.
Since 2013, the award-winning Calgary event has raised over $22 million.
The PREP program is one of 180 youth charities that receive that money.
“To make more than $20 million in five years is amazing,” Spittle said. “It’s fun to come and do stuff like this because it helps so many people — especially it helps kids, so that’s pretty cool.”
Jacqueline Arnold’s five-year-old son Nolan started in the program as a baby. She says he’s thriving and that the program has changed their lives.
“We’re so connected for life with the other families — with the support, resources, everything,” Arnold said. “It makes this journey a lot easier.”
Spittle says he will start to close the book on his golf career, playing less events in the next year, including his final Shaw Charity Classic this summer in Calgary.