USGA recognizes the partnership during the 122nd U.S. Open, awarding $25,000 to First Tee – Massachusetts and hosting First Tee’s Game Changer Pavilion
PONTE VEDRA, Fla. and BROOKLINE, Mass. (June 15, 2022) – A founding partner of First Tee, the USGA has extended its 25-year support of the youth development organization and will be highlighted this week during the 122nd U.S. Open in Brookline, Mass. As part of the USGA’s ongoing commitment to growing a more welcoming golf community, the USGA has awarded $25,000 to First Tee — Massachusetts through their IDEA Grant and is hosting the First Tee Game Changers Pavilion, with support from Sentry, as part of the U.S. Open Junior Experience at Fisher Hill Reservoir Park.
Launched in 2021, the USGA IDEA Grant program is part of a broader effort to directly empower programs that foster inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility at the local level, particularly in its championship host communities and for programs delivered through its Allied Golf Association network in every state. Since the program’s inception, the USGA has allocated nearly half a million dollars toward the effort.
First Tee — Massachusetts plans to direct its efforts on expanding its character-building programs in underserved communities and diversifying coaching staff to better match the demographics of the population it serves. Additionally, financial aid programs, free transportation and new program locations in Springfield and Worcester supported by the 2022 IDEA grant will help to ensure more youth can learn the game and grow from the experiences. First Tee — Massachusetts is proudly supported by Mass Golf, an Allied Golf Association, and its community of over 100,000 members and 340 member clubs.
“We are committed to investing in local communities that serve as incredible hosts for our championships, as a way to help advance the game.” said Mike Whan, CEO of the USGA. “First Tee Massachusetts is breaking down barriers to participation in this community, and it’s the kind of change we want to make golf more accessible and encourage more youth to pick up the game.”
The USGA and First Tee are also partnering on this year’s U.S. Open Junior Experience at Fisher Hill Reservoir Park – offering the community a family-friendly experience. With support from Sentry, the experience features the First Tee Game Changers Pavilion, a space that brings to life what it means to be a game-changer and helps connect youth to the excitement and personal impact associated with golf and First Tee programs offered throughout the country. The Pavilion will be open from Wednesday, June 15 to Saturday, June 18. The junior experience is free of charge and First Tee representatives and participants will be on hand inviting community members to engage in a series of interactive golf-themed activities and enjoy the thrill of a major championship in a publicly accessible space. As a First Tee Trustee, Sentry’s support of the Game Changers Pavilion is an extension of their commitment to helping further First Tee’s mission.
Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2022, First Tee offers programs in all 50 states and select international locations seamlessly integrating the game of golf with a life skills curriculum that empowers youth to build their inner strength, self-confidence, and resilience. Serving more than 30,000 individuals annually, First Tee — Massachusetts offers seven programs across the state, including three in the Boston area.
“Empowering youth through the game of golf has been at the core of First Tee’s mission since 1997,” said Greg McLaughlin, First Tee CEO. “Thanks to the ongoing support of the USGA, we are continuously opening doors in the local golf community and introducing new golfers to the game and our character-building programs.”
To celebrate the USGA’s investment in the local community, USGA Executive Committee member Cathy Engelbert presented First Tee with a check during a pre-game ceremony at Fenway Park this Tuesday. First Tee — Massachusetts Director of Operations Kyle Harris accepted the grant, along with McLaughlin.
About PGA TOUR First Tee Foundation (“First Tee”)
First Tee (www.firsttee.org) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit youth development organization that is supported by the PGA TOUR. Its mission is to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character and instill life-enhancing values through the game of golf. In 2022, First Tee celebrates its 25th anniversary and reaching millions of youth through its network of 150 chapters, 10,000 schools and 1,700 youth centers. Headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, USA, programs are delivered in all 50 United States and select international locations. President George W. Bush serves as Honorary Chair.
Sara Henika, First Tee