PALM BEACH GARDENS, Florida - The United States Golf Association and The PGA of America announced a partnership for a Junior Golf Program in 2009 that focuses on expanding the number of junior golfers while fostering life-long participation in the game.
The pilot program will involve PGA Professionals in seven PGA Sections across the country that have demonstrated strong junior golf infrastructures – Indiana, Illinois, New Jersey, Northern Texas, South Florida, Southern California and Wisconsin.
The USGA/PGA Junior Golf Program will comprise three initiatives; an After School program, a Trio Mentoring program, and a Course Access program.· The After School program is a four-to six-week activity conducted at 75 sites for one hour immediately after school. All sessions are conducted outdoors in an open space using traditional golf equipment. PGA Professionals will utilize the PGA First Swing and PGA Medalist curriculum to instruct youth on core golf skills – etiquette, rules and fundamentals – which will enable instructors to certify that participants are prepared for the next step of playing golf. A student-teacher ratio of 10 to 1 will be maintained, with all participants gathering for a final session at a golf facility.
· The Trio Mentoring program is intended to provide junior golfers the opportunity to be encouraged, mentored and supported in order to achieve their full potential. Youngsters will be identified by the following: PGA Professionals, USGA volunteers, facilities, PGA Sections and State and Regional Golf Associations. The mentoring program will be conducted during the summer season and include a minimum commitment of six pro-am-kid playing and teaching opportunities.
· The Course Access program will utilize USGA and PGA digital media assets to present discounted course access opportunities to help developing players find the right golf course for their location, budget, and skill level.
“Building the next generation of golfers is one of the hallmarks of our mission as PGA Professionals and one that is shared by our partner, the United States Golf Association,” said PGA of America President Jim Remy. “Our partnership with the USGA in this program represents the next step to extending those building blocks for our country’s future golfers. We are excited about the curriculum that will be used to reach youngsters and the enthusiasm that our member professionals bring to the lesson tee each day. It is their body of work which makes the game of golf enjoyable for everyone.”
The After School Program will be promoted by the schools through PGA Sections during The First Tee National Schools Program or physical education class as an elective next step to learning to play golf. The USGA and PGA of America will co-brand the junior golf programs and divide responsibilities, with each contributing grants.
“The USGA is excited to partner with The PGA of America and its 28,000 members in expanding opportunities for young people to learn the game of golf,” said USGA President Jim Vernon. “Providing more quality instruction and increasing opportunities to get kids on the golf course will help assure golf’s future by helping today’s junior golfers become lifelong players.”
In addition to the After School Program, recruitment of junior golfers will continue through mentoring programs, PGA and LPGA professionals, partner programs with The First Tee, and other junior golf programs and associations that have been utilized in the seven pilot PGA Sections.