April 26, 2018 4:42 pm
Updated: April 26, 2018 5:15 pm

Professional golfer Rod Spittle comes to Calgary to give back to local charity

WATCH: PGA Tour Champions member Rod Spittle reads to kids with Down syndrome at Calgary’s PREP program. Each year, Spittle competes in the Shaw Charity Classic, which has raised $22 million for charity since 2013. Kevin Smith has more.


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.

PGA Tour Champions golfer Rod Spittle reading to kindergarten students at PREP school in Calgary on April 26, 2018.

Global News

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.

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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.

Jacqeline Arnold and her five-year-old son Nolan who attends the PREP program school on April 26, 2018.

Global News

“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.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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