USGA, PGA create junior program

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The United States Golf Association and The PGA of America are partnering to create a new after-school junior program that will place an emphasis on providing course access to young players.

The pilot program will launch this year in seven PGA Sections across the country that have well-established junior golf infrastructure: Indiana, Illinois, New Jersey, Northern Texas, South Florida, Southern California and Wisconsin.

The joint-initiative USGA/PGA Junior Golf Program will comprise three elements: an after-school program, a mentoring component and a course-access program.

“Our partnership with the USGA in this program represents the next step to extending those building blocks for our country’s future golfers,” said Jim Remy, PGA of America president.

Details of the program include:

• The after-school curriculum is expected to be a four-to six-week activity, scheduled for 75 sites for one hour immediately following school. All sessions will be held outdoors and use traditional golf equipment. A student-teacher ratio of 10 to 1 will be maintained, with all participants gathering for a final session at a golf facility.

• The mentoring program will be conducted during the summer and include a minimum commitment of “six pro-am-kid” playing and teaching opportunities.

• The course-access initiative will use assets such as PlayGolfAmerica.com as well as JuniorLinks.com to offer discounted opportunities at courses that fit juniors’ needs, taking into consideration factors such as location, budget and skill level.

The USGA/PGA program will be promoted in schools as an elective, next step to learn the game. The USGA and PGA of America will co-brand the program and each will contribute grants.

In addition, 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 in the seven pilot PGA Sections.

“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 Jim Vernon, USGA president. “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.”

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