UK HealthCare

Pediatric patients, PGA golfers have 'un-fore-gettable' time at annual Mini Pro-Am

image of young boy in blue jersey with a mini golf club
Image of father cheering for young son on mini-golf course
Image of young girl in blue dress putting on mini golf course
young boy putts on mini golf course
Image of children sitting at table with costumed mascot

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 13, 2023) — It’s a tense scene at Kentucky Proud Park.

Seven-year-old Kase Chaney approaches the third hole of the colorful mini-golf course, his brow furrowed in concentration. Nearby, his mom Hannah and pro golfer Todd Clements watch as Kase carefully lines up his shot. But no one is watching Kase more closely than his opponent — Scratch, the mascot of UK’s Junior Wildcat Club.

After several putts, most of which would come under scrutiny if this was an official PGA event, Kase sinks the ball. The concourse of Kentucky Proud Park, filled with UK cheerleaders, student-athletes and onlookers, erupts in cheers.

This is the scene at the annual Mini Pro-Am tournament for patients of UK HealthCare's Kentucky Children’s Hospital (KCH). First held in 2018 in association with the PGA Barbasol Championship played at the Keene Trace Golf Course in nearby Nicholasville, the tournament has become a favorite tradition for former and current pediatric patients.

It’s not just the kids who are finding the tournament a good opportunity to putt their cares away. It’s a welcome break for the professional golfers who have come to Kentucky from all over the world to compete in the Barbasol Championship. England’s Todd Clements, who spent the morning practicing on the Keene Trace Course, is more than happy to coach the young players on the fundamentals of the game.

“Watching the kids enjoy themselves, it takes me back to remembering when I played as a kid,” said Clements. “I’m going to take this mindset with me to the tournament this week.”

Pint-sized putters, assisted by volunteer "caddies," tested their skills on a nine-hole course in the on the concourse of Kentucky Proud Park, home of UK’s baseball team. Cheering them along were their families, PGA golfers, caddies and UK coaches and student-athletes.

“Not only does KCH have the honor of being one of benefiting charities of the Barbasol PGA Championship, but our patients have the opportunity to learn from the best of the best,” said Scottie B. Day, M.D., physician-in-chief at Kentucky Children’s Hospital. “To have these golfers come out and spend the afternoon with our patients demonstrates how deeply Barbasol and Caddy 127 care about our community.”

Kentucky Children's Hospital is one of the benefiting charities of the Barbasol PGA Championship being held July 13-16, at Champions at Keene Trace in Nicholasville. The tournament will broadcast live each day on Golf Channel and is one of only 44 regular-season tournaments before the FedEx Cup Playoffs. PGA Tour events generated more than $2.65 billion for charity. More than $325,000 has been donated to Kentucky Children's Hospital by the Barbasol Tournament and its charitable arm, Caddie127.

UK HealthCare is the hospitals and clinics of the University of Kentucky. But it is so much more. It is more than 10,000 dedicated health care professionals committed to providing advanced subspecialty care for the most critically injured and ill patients from the Commonwealth and beyond. It also is the home of the state’s only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, a Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit that cares for the tiniest and sickest newborns, the region’s only Level 1 trauma center and Kentucky’s top hospital ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

As an academic research institution, we are continuously pursuing the next generation of cures, treatments, protocols and policies. Our discoveries have the potential to change what’s medically possible within our lifetimes. Our educators and thought leaders are transforming the health care landscape as our six health professions colleges teach the next generation of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health care professionals, spreading the highest standards of care. UK HealthCare is the power of advanced medicine committed to creating a healthier Kentucky, now and for generations to come.