Pebble Beach, California, United States: United States Golf Association (USGA) CEO Mike Davis, Vice Chairman of the First Tee Board and former PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem, and First Tee President Greg McLaughlin came together at the 119th US Open Championship to recognise the USGA’s long-standing commitment bringing young people to the game through the First Tee.
The three leaders were joined by two participants from First Tee for a friendly competition in the Junior Experience Featuring the First Tee, an interactive area for kids in families located with this year’s US Open’s Fan Central. Playing in a putting competition, all five helped to earn grant money (courtesy of the USGA) for the 10 local First Tee chapters in Northern California (Central Coast, Central Valley, Contra Costa, Fresno, Greater Sacramento, Monterey County, San Francisco, San Joaquin, Silicon Valley and the Tri-Valley).
Davis, Finchem and McLaughlin each sunk their putts to win the competition, splitting the US$7,000 between Central Coast, Central Valley, Contra Costa, Fresno, Sacramento and San Francisco. The four remaining chapters each received US$1,000, for a total of US$15,000 distributed in USGA-funded grants. Since First Tee’s inception in 1997, the USGA has provided more than US$26 million in grants to the organisation.
The USGA and First Tee debuted the Junior Experience featuring First Tee this week at the US Open to help connect youth attending to the excitement and values associated with golf and First Tee programmes offered throughout the country. Highlights of the immersive experience include First Tee’s hands-on putting green, chipping challenge, golf simulator, large-scale colouring wall, photo booth and more. The Junior Experience also includes activations with LPGA-USGA Girls Golf and WGT/Top Dog ESports.
“We are proud to be a part of the fan experience at the 119th US Open Championship, ensuring that kids and families have a great time and opening the doors for them to get involved in the game at one of our 150 chapters nationwide,” said McLaughlin. “We are thankful for USGA’s long-standing commitment to our mission, our chapters and for providing us the ability to introduce golf and the Nine Core Values to more young people each year.”
With the USGA’s support, First Tee’s 10 northern California chapters are reaching more than 35,000 young people annually at more than 120 golf programme locations, with support from 2,700 volunteers. Additionally, First Tee has been introduced to more than 750 schools and youth centres reaching thousands of additional kids throughout the state.