Sam Goulden is collecting golf bags bound for young golfers who may not afford them.

“A golf bag’s an expensive piece of that puzzle and if we can give a junior a really good bag, they can spend that $250 on lessons or maybe a tournament,” he said.

Goulden launched MNML Golf in 2019 with a Kickstarter campaign. The Manhattan Beach-based company makes high-tech, slim golf bags with solar panels, chargers and even a bluetooth speaker.

“All the pockets are magnetic, so you never have to worry about a broken zipper,” he said as he showed off some of the features.

A little more than a year ago, he started the company’s “Trade-it-Forward” program. Customers willing to donate their old bags can receive $40 off a MNML bag and Goulden then donates them to the Southern California Golf Association Junior Golf Foundation.

“Some junior is going to get this bag and be like extremely excited about it,” Goulden said.

He played in college and later on the mini tour, the golf equivalent of the minor leagues.

“I’d get in my car and drive 15 minutes to the golf course, park my car on the range, and hit balls at two in the morning because I was just obsessed,” Goulden said.

But he said his true passion is coaching teenagers.

“When a kid finds the thing they love, and then they have the access to it and the opportunity to develop it, it’s just really really cool,” he said.

And access is part of what Goulden and the SCGA are looking to improve, helping it further transition from an exclusive, private male-dominated sport to a more inclusive game.

“It opens new doors for a lot of people who didn’t think it was possible to play golf if you weren’t rich or didn’t live in a certain place, so I think it’s amazing to be a part of that,” said 11th grader Khivi Kaur, who’s out golfing three or four times a week and competes for Cerritos High School. She picked up the game from her dad and has been playing since she was 7.

“I love being outside. I love hanging out with my friends, and it’s just been the sport that’s really stuck with me,” she said.

She won a MNML bag in a golf competition where she was paired up with Goulden, but she remembers starting with a hand-me-down.

“I’m just grateful that my parents were able to support me and that I was able to get this bag, so I was able to save those few hundred dollars,” Kaur said.

Extra money she can put toward perfecting her chipping and putting, and for Goulden, it’s an opportunity to let more kids take a swing at something new.

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