The Youth Pillar of PGA REACH seeks to improve and advance opportunities for youth. Introduction to the sport at an early age has proven to provide great opportunities in the areas of education, health and wellness and character building centered on the sport of golf.
PGA REACH programming will ensure that cost doesn’t prohibit youth from entering the sport and will serve as a central role in the golf industry’s effort to introduce the sport to youth of all ages and backgrounds in a safe, fun environment. Some program examples include:
PGA Junior League Golf
Golf’s version of Little League baseball has seen significant growth since its inception as a pilot program in 2012. PGA Junior league teams consist of at least 10 players, managed by a PGA Professional, with each player receiving a uniform and PGA instruction. The format is focused on fun and recreation and is a great way to begin in the sport. Each competition consists of teams of two (2) playing three (3), three (3) hole scramble matches, each match worth 1 point. Local Leagues consist of a minimum of 4 teams. At the conclusion of the regular season an All Star team for the league is chosen. Each team in the league must have at least 1 player selected. Those All Star teams compete for Regional championship with the Regional winners moving on to compete for the National Championship. The 2016 PGA Junior League Championship was won by Team California over Team Georgia at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, AZ. The popularity of PGA Junior League Golf skyrocketed in 2016, with 36,000 players participating on nearly 3,000 teams nationwide, an increase of over 20 percent from 2015. The golf industry has taken notice, with Rory McIlroy, Michelle Wie, Lexi Thompson and Rickie Fowler all on board as PGA Junior League Golf Ambassadors. The goal of the program is to grow to 10,000 teams and 100,000 kids by 2020 in the USA.
Boys and Girls Club Partnership
PGA REACH has partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America as their Official Youth Development Partner, in a new five-year mission that will introduce youth nationwide to the game of golf with the PGA Sports Academy junior golf development program. PGA REACH provides golf training equipment and instructional support from PGA Professionals to help youth build character, develop healthy lifestyles and learn the game of golf. BCGA will conduct the program with young people ages 7-13 (with a primary target of 9-12) in groups of 25 at least once a week for 60 minutes. Each class will be held at the local Boys & Girls Club with the final class being held at a golf facility where the participants will learn and experience golf by visiting, practicing and playing at a golf facility. The instruction will be led by a local PGA professional, who will create an opportunity for the practice and/or play to take place at a local course or driving range. Professionals will teach basic skills and the Rules of Golf, in addition to coordinating contests and games to reinforce both the fun of the game and skill development. The Club will run the program two times per year with encouragement for repeat youth participation to foster continued learning. Each program cycle will run 6-8 weeks total including the field trip to a golf facility for a green-grass experience. The goal of PGA REACH is to in continue to support the growth of this program of 50 new centers per year.