Archive for June, 2015
This article was written by Geoff Grammer from Albuquerque Journal and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Moments before Jett Wyckoff was going to tee off Sunday afternoon at Arroyo del Oso, he was asked who wins the chipping contests between him and his dad, Kevin.
The 10-year-old golfer didn’t say anything. He looked up from under his the brim of his hat, flashed a sly half smile and nodded his head while his dad could only laugh.
“Yeah, he’s getting pretty good,” said Kevin Wyckoff. “I’m just glad we found a way for him to really enjoy it and not get discouraged, which golf can sometimes do to you.”
Jett has played for just about a year now. This summer, he’s enjoying seeing his game develop further as a part of the city’s PGA Junior League Golf program – a format of team-style golf designed to socialize kids ages 13 and under with the game in a less stressful way than traditional stroke-play format.
“I think it’s really nice because other people who don’t always play get to play golf,” Jett said. “And if somebody hits a good shot, you can congratulate them and you both get to help each other.”
The program, in its first full year at five courses around Albuquerque (there are also teams in Farmington and El Paso), pairs players of varying ability levels in two-player team matches playing against twosomes from other courses in a modified scramble/match play format.
“We try to pair up a really good kid with a novice who hasn’t played much,” said Gerome Espinoza, a PGA Apprentice at Arroyo del Oso, who is one of the coaches spearheading developing the junior league program in New Mexico. “That newer kid might only hit one out of every two or three shots really well, but they don’t have the pressure of playing their own ball thinking if they just duffed it, they have go track it down in the weeds. They both get to go to the good ball.”
The teams don uniforms and compete in nine-hole competitions each Sunday. The first full year brought out 111 kids in the Albuquerque area. Espinoza sees it only growing from here.
“This is, hands down, just the coolest thing I’ve seen for kids on the golf course,” said Espinoza, the former boys basketball coach at Del Norte High. “They’re out here playing golf, learning the rules and even the parents (are) learning, too.”
The teams get one hour of instruction each week. Maybe the program’s most appealing aspect is how it seems to keep the interest of players of all abilities.
“I love it because this game gets very monotonous after a while and you hate to burn them out,” said Andrea Yusnukis, whose children Austin Jet and Avery Sky are not only members of the UNM North junior league team, but have also had plenty of success on the Sun Country Junior Golf Tour and other events around the Southwest.
“We try to incorporate other sports into their life, but can’t commit to too many other organized sports to play on weekends that are part of a team. This format, it’s great for that and it keeps the interest up. I’d definitely recommend it to the total beginner.”
Austin, 12, and his 10-yearold sister have been playing golf since they were rolling balls into holes as 1-year-olds. He said he’s learned more in the junior league because the team aspect provides a rare opportunity to look at the game from a different perspective.
“If I’m playing with someone who’s a total beginner, I’ll try to help them out – try to help them with their swing, show them what they’re doing wrong, where to go on this hole or where to position it,” Austin said. “… In this format, you play as a team. In Sun Country, you’re playing individually and counting on yourself.”
Espinoza said the best way for parents to inquire about the program for next summer is simply talking to the pros at the various courses.
PGN Plus and the Philadelphia PGA are giving golfers the opportunity to play at prestigious private courses in their area while also giving back to the community during Golf ‘N’ Give Week, June 22 to 28. When you book a tee time through PGN Plus, you’ll secure a slot at a previously inaccessible private course, with part of the costs donated to PGA REACH, PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere), and Variety: The Children’s Charity.
PGN Plus is your invitation to private golf. Visit pgnplus.com to experience some of the most pristine private courses across the United States. No matter what type of golfer you are or if you are a country club member, experience a new era in the game of golf on pgnplus.com.
Help support PGA REACH by visiting https://pgnplus.com/ and booking your tee time today!
PGA REACH is expanding its PGA HOPE program into the Metropolitan PGA Section. On Thursday, June 18th, 30 veterans gathered at the West Point Golf Course to kick-off a 6-week PGA HOPE program. Metropolitan Section PGA Professionals gave golf instruction to the veterans.
Check out News12 Westchester, New York’s coverage on this story here.
David Jones, an Army Veteran in the PGA HOPE program, discusses his experience, “The whole process has been a home run. Since we’ve got here we’ve had nothing but smiles and fun and I just love the whole experience.”
Head PGA Professional Andy Crane of West Point Golf Club talks about the benefits of PGA HOPE, “This is a program where they can come out and just let loose and not worry about things, or whatever they’re going through, hit a little white golf ball for a while and have some fun.”
Next week the veterans will have an opportunity to play a round of golf at West Point Golf Club.
NBC New York News covered the final session of the PGA HOPE program at the VA in Lyons, New Jersey. Click the below link to watch the video coverage of Veterans’ lives being changed through our New Jersey HOPE program.
On Monday, June 15th, PGA REACH and National Car Rental partnered together to bring the 2015 National Car Rental PGA REACH Charity Pro-Am held at the host site of this year’s PGA Championship, Whistling Straits.
The event was played in an 18-hole best-ball format with a lunch and awards ceremony following play.
This annual event allows PGA REACH to leave a lasting impact in the local community of the PGA Championship host site. PGA REACH is using all proceeds from this year’s Pro-Am to benefit the following organizations in Wisconsin: Bookworm Gardens, Caddie & Leadership Academy, PGA HOPE Milwaukee, Sheboygan County Golf in Schools Programs and PGA Junior League Golf.
CBS58 WDJT Milwaukee News showcased the event in a news story:
Click here to see a video of the event.
PGA REACH helps launch the Caddie and Leadership Academy in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in an effort to leave a lasting impact on youth in the local community of this year’s PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. The Caddie and Leadership Academy program involves youth in the game of golf by instituting a caddie training program that teaches juniors essential life skills, values and exposes them to the fun environment golf provides.
The following is an article by the KENOSHA NEWS CORRESPONDENT
By Christine A. Verstraete
SOMERS, Wisconsin — A lot of firsts happened at Petrtifying Springs Golf Course Saturday.
Twenty youths, ages 14-18, got their first jobs working as caddies as part of the new Caddie and Leadership Academy of Southeast Wisconsin.
This is the first time the course has had a caddie program.
It also is the first time such a program has been offered at a public golf course.
“It’s just to get the kids exposed to the game,” said Daniel Drier, general manager of Petrifying Springs and the Brighton Dale Links golf courses. “It gets them exposed to the business leaders in the community and shows them what it takes to be successful.”
Caddies will work during the league and public play times from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday, and most of Saturday and Sunday.
Golfers have an incentive to use the caddie service because the fees — $15 for nine holes and $30 for 18 holes — are paid through the program, with golfers only providing optional tips.
Program funding of $30,000 is provided through donations from the Public Golfers Association of America Reach Program, the Wisconsin State Golf Association and the Western Golf Association. The kids are paid via Manpower debit cards.
“I thought it was a great idea,” said Ramiro Romo Jr., father of NFL quarterback Tony Romo, who’s on the Academy board and is the 2013 winner of the WSGA Senior Amateur Championship. “We’re helping form the values of youth and teaching them to play and work at a goal. And they possibly can get a scholarship to college.”
Romo’s caddie, Sean Wolfe of Kenosha, was excited even before the game started.
“I’m already having a lot of fun,” he said of his first job.
Another bonus of the program: “It gives them fresh air, exercise, and it helps them learn more about golf,” said Pete Kollman of Kenosha.
“It’s kind of fun to be out here,” said his 15-year-old caddie Richard Rosenbaum, also of Kenosha.
Annette Copado, a 15-year-old sophomore at LakeView Technology Academy said she might even learn to play golf.
“I hope to learn the concept of golf,” she said. “I never understood it. It’s good to talk business, too.”
As for exercise, the kids had to get used to carrying a 15- to 20-pound bag the whole 5,979 yards or half of that if it was only nine holes.
But golfer Barry Proctor of Burlington did his 15-year-old caddie Joey Ilada a favor for his first day: “I changed to a smaller bag for him.”
Ilada said he was looking forward to the day, no matter what.
“I’ve always loved golf,” he said. “It’s something to really get to know people.”
Besides carrying the golf bag, some caddies may know a little about choosing clubs for certain shots, but mostly they have to keep track of the golfer’s equipment.
“You have to make sure I have 14 clubs when we get back here,” Jim Kinney of Antioch told his 14-year-old caddie Steven Spizzirri. “My caddie should be responsible for my clubs.”
Spizzirri, of Kenosha, has golfed before and said he likes the job “because I wanted to look at it (the game) a different way, so I tried caddying.”
But for those totally new to the game, it’s a good way to learn about the sport and meet different people from the community.
“I thought this should be a good summer job,” said 15-year-old Anna Steinmetz of Kenosha.
The St. Joseph Catholic Academy sophomore said she wants to go to college to be a cardiothoracic surgeon and admitted, “I also applied at McDonald’s. There’s a whole lot of interesting people who play golf. I thought I’d learn a thing or two from them.”
Kids in the caddie program are also considered for the Evans Scholarship. The scholarships are given to 200 students annually, with up to 15 going to students in Wisconsin.
Students in the caddie academy are chosen based on need, performance in the program and grades.
Golfer Erik Hansen of Kenosha praised the caddie academy and credited the scholarship program with giving him a start and helping him attend the University of Wisconsin.
“It’s wonderful,” he said. “This is an opportunity for everybody to get more experience. I wouldn’t have had a lot of the opportunities I had in life if not for the Evans Scholarship.”
Read the full article here
In a sport where relationships are everything, PGA HOPE helps Veterans assimilate back into their community through the social interaction the game of golf provides. This program offers a morale boost and enables our patriots to once again be active in their community and participate in the game of a lifetime!
The PGA HOPE sessions are cost-free for all Veterans and are taught by local PGA Professionals. The program includes provisions for clubs and equipment if needed, training aids, range balls and weekly golf course access.
PGA REACH, the local PGA Professionals at Westcott Plantation, and the Charleston VA are working closely together to implement a successful PGA HOPE Charleston site for local Veterans. The introductory golf clinic for Wescott Plantation’s PGA HOPE program began on Friday, June 12th. The next PGA HOPE session will be held on Friday, June 19th. HOPE sessions will continue to be held every Friday through July 17th from 3:00pm – 5:00pm at the Golf Club at Westcott Plantation. For more information, or to get involved in the HOPE Charleston Program, please contact Perry Green (contact information listed below).
If unable to email, please call Perry Green at (843)817–5989
Golf Club at Westcott Plantation Address: 5000 Westcott Club Dr., Summerville, SC 29485
PGA Professional Bob Beach is positively affecting many lives in his local Boston community through PGA REACH initiatives. From his leadership with the Boston PGA HOPE golf program for military Veterans, to working closely with the Special Olympics, Bob Beach is growing the game of golf and inspiring others through his dedication to these programs.
Beach’s commitment to growing the game of golf and making it inclusive began in the 1980s after he gave golf lessons to several people with special needs. When he gave those golf lessons, and saw the excitement on those individuals’ faces purely from striking a golf ball, Beach saw an opportunity to impact others’ lives and felt compelled to serve those with special needs in his community.
Since the early 1990s, Beach has also been committed to serving military Veterans in his local community by conducting golf clinics for as a way for them to handle the effects of PTSD. Beach is currently the Lead Professional at the Boston PGA HOPE site, where he conducts weekly golf clinics for local Veterans to help them in their golf game and rehabilitation efforts.
As a result of Bob Beach’s countless hours of service to the community, the Special Olympics Committee and the PGA of America recognized Beach as the recipient of the 2014 Conrad Rehling Award – an annual award given to a PGA Member who shows strong commitment to the PGA of America and the Special Olympics. Through his extensive service to the game of golf, Special Olympics, and Veterans in PGA HOPE, Beach is one of the many PGA Professionals who are taking tremendous steps to better people’s lives and make golf fun for everyone.
Below is an article covering Beach’s involvement with PGA REACH and PGA HOPE.
By Butch Stearns–FOX25/MyFoxBoston News
The PGA Hope Program is dedicated to helping veterans with physical and mental issues through the game of golf.
“Isolation is the absolute anathema for PTSD,” says Golf Director Fred Corcoran. “Then we get them out here and they start talking, criticizing, kibitzing, joking with each other we know we succeeded. It gets them out of the house and back with their buddies.”
A huge part of the success of the program is Bob Beach, the head golf professional at the Braintree Municipal Golf Course since 1991
“He loves the game,” says Veteran Joe Scanlon. “He loves the commitment to the veterans and he’s willing to sacrifice and he gives and gives and he gives all the help that he can.”
When asked about his love for the program, Beach replied. “This is what I like to do now. How lucky am I to be out there helping these veterans who did so much for us and sacrificed so much. Its my favorite thing to do. I can do it everyday. That’s probably going to be my retirement job.”
Click here to view the full article along with a video featuring PGA Professional Bob Beach.
HARRISON, NEW YORK (June 9, 2015) – Michelle Wie has been named an ambassador for PGA Junior League Golf, which introduces kids ages 13 and under to the game in a fun, social and inclusive team-based environment.
Wie, the reigning U.S. Women’s Open Champion, joins defending PGA Champion Rory McIlroy, who was named PGA Junior League Golf ambassador in 2014.
PGA Junior League Golf, which is owned and managed by the PGA of America, featured a soaring number of participants in 2014 with 17,500 boys and girls participating on 1,425 teams nationwide, a 95-percent increase from 2013. Nearly 30,000 youth are involved this year.
“It’s only natural that a fun team concept like PGA Junior League Golf has taken hold in just a few years,” said Wie. “For generations, boys and girls have grown up in team sports. To see how they can come together and learn golf through this program is most encouraging in shaping golf’s future.”
Wie advanced in golf at an early age, inspired by her mother, Bo, who was the 1985 South Korean women’s amateur champion. Now, Wie will look inspire youngsters to participate in PGA Junior League Golf and also encourage PGA and LPGA Professionals to host a team or league at their individual facilities.
“We couldn’t ask for a better partner in helping spread the word about PGA Junior League Golf than Michelle Wie,” said PGA of America President Derek Sprague. “PGA Junior League Golf is opening new doors to attract more young golfers. With Michelle as ambassador, we can only further drive interest among youth.”
McIlroy added his praise of Wie joining the support team for PGA Junior League Golf.
“It is really exciting news that Michelle is coming on board as an ambassador for PGA Junior League Golf,” said McIlroy. “We both share a real love of the game and Michelle is a superb role model for young people. I look forward to working with her to help grow the game, bring more kids into PGA Junior League Golf and produce tomorrow’s champions.”
PGA Junior League Golf is similar in structure to other youth sports, where participants wear numbered jerseys and play on teams with friends.
Teams are comprised of boys and girls ages 13 and under, with no prior playing experience required. They play 9-hole matches in a popular two-person scramble format, reinforcing the team concept that creates a nurturing environment for learning the game; PGA and LPGA Professionals, who serve as team Captains, can substitute players every three holes, so that all of the golfers on each team can participate.
Teams play regular-season matches before entering city and regional championships. Eight regional champions will advance to the PGA Junior League Golf Championship, held Oct. 17-19, in Los Angeles in conjunction with the 33rd PGA Grand Slam of Golf at Trump National Golf Club.
Michelle is excited to be on the PGA Junior League Team, as seen in this short video:
For more information on PGA Junior League Golf, click here.
For more information about the PGA of America, visit PGAMediaCenter.com