EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

August 19, 2013

Ideas needed: Owner of golf range wants to find uses for retired gold balls

(Continued)

While minting pros is not a goal, several Button Hole alumni have gone onto to compete in Division I golf in college, she said.

The organization, which has a budget of about $750,000, raises money, relies on grants and seeks donations to offset operating costs. It has expanded to include a handicap-accessibility grant that Brown said will bolster their work with disabled children, and help with access for seniors who can take public transportation to the course.

Brown said she didn’t believe the offer when she heard it. “It just sounds extraordinary,” she said. The donation would offset operating expenditures for golf balls, which could be shifted to developing their programs, she said.

Kazanjian is still reviewing the emails he has gotten, but he likes golf for kids because, aside from the fact he grew up with a club in his hand, he sees it as being accessible to more people. And the stars, starting with Tiger Woods 15 years ago, are getting younger and younger, showing a less-stuffy side of a sport he thought was more traditionally associated with retirees and doctors on Wednesday.

“It’s something almost any kids could pick up without worrying, ‘Am I good enough, lean enough or quick enough?’” he said. Plus, golfers are wearing more Nike and Puma and less plaid.

While he likes Button Hole, he hopes he can help groups locally. “My roots and my business are in Methuen,” he said. Kazanjian’s grandmother purchased the land Whirlaway sits on in the early 1930s, and his grandfather started the business soon after. It has remained in his family, and he loves seeing the eyes of his 2-year-old nephew light up when he comes in.

Among the other emails, he also got one from a girl who wanted to paint faces on the balls and sell them for her organization. And an associate of his, a track coach in Burlington, suggested donating some to the high school’s golf program there.

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