Lawrence, Kansas, United States: In May, the golf industry’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Collaboration introduced a new Grassroots Grants Programme designed to increase participation among those who are under-represented in the sport.
The grant programme is being managed by WE ARE GOLF, a coalition of the game’s leading associations and industry partners, with the help of an inclusive work group focused on Youth & Adult Player Development.
A total of 43 organisations have been selected to receive a grant in phase one, including First Green, the STEM-education programme from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), and the GCSAA Foundation.
“There are many incredibly passionate and important community-based programmes that are successfully bringing more people from various backgrounds into golf every day, including First Green,” said Michael Cooper, PhD, who is co-leading the Youth & Adult Player Development Work Group.
“I am pleased we can channel grants to these organisations and will continue to champion ways to expand their work,” he added.
The purpose of the Grassroots Grants Program (GGP) is to support charitable organisations or programmes dedicated to increasing golf participation among those who are under-represented in the sport: Black, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, and Indigenous communities as well as women, LBGTQ+ individuals, Veterans, and individuals with disabilities.
GCSAA Foundation’s First Green programme was selected for its ability to reach young students and help them better understand science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) concepts by turning golf courses into environmental learning labs.
Through these learning labs, where teachers collaborate with golf course superintendents on lesson plans, students get hands-on experience and typically have an increased interest in STEM thanks to the First Green experience. In addition, First Green aims to raise awareness for conservation and sustainability and to bring people together for a common cause.
The GGP is a tangible out-growth of an industry-wide focus on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
In addition to the Youth & Adult Player Development Work Group, efforts are also underway in the areas of education and skill development, talent acquisition, procurement, human resources and marketing. Each work group includes representative voices from all backgrounds.
In June, the marketing work group led the launch of Make Golf Your Thing, a movement designed to grow and diversify the sport by inviting people from all backgrounds and skill levels to engage with the game of golf in their own way – from traditional nine-hole and 18-hole rounds or simulated play, to enjoying a tournament in-person or on television.
The programme is being financially supported by partners committed to helping make the game more welcoming and inclusive.