The American Junior Golf Association and the United States Golf Association are pleased to announce the finalists for the 2017 USGA-AJGA Presidents’ Leadership Award. The organizations recognize these junior golfers for their hard work to give back to their communities.
The USGA-AJGA Presidents' Leadership Award honors one male and one female junior golfer annually who demonstrate leadership, character and community service through their involvement with the Leadership Links program: a joint initiative founded by the USGA and AJGA in 2005 to further develop junior golfers through volunteerism. The recipients of the 2017 USGA-AJGA Presidents' Leadership Award will be announced on Tuesday, May 23, and will be honored at the Polo Ralph Lauren Leadership Dinner on Tuesday, June 27, during the Polo Golf Junior Classic in Ringoes, New Jersey.
The finalists for the 2017 USGA-AJGA Presidents’ Leadership Award are:
Abhinav Alluri, Northville, Michigan, Class of 2018
Along with his brother, Akhil, Alluri raises money for the Children’s Miracle Network through golf-a-thons. In the span of three events, they raised more than $18,000. Alluri also partnered with doctors in India to provide free eye exams and surgical treatments for senior citizens. The camp Alluri created screened more than 170 Indian citizens and raised more than $30,000.
John Bowen, Hobe Sound, Florida, Class of 2018
Bowen assisted special needs kids in gym class, creating the New Trier Special Olympics, and was selected to travel with the students. Bowen raised $1,400 for the New Trier High School Special Olympics Program and $1,400 for the ACE Grant. He also volunteered more than 250 through a boys service club and in downtown Chicago at the Pacific Garden Mission to help the homeless.
Haley Bookholdt, Columbus, New Jersey, Class of 2017
Bookholdt raised more than $55,000 for The First Tee of Greater Trenton after discovering they do not receive national funding from the organization. She conducted multiple fundraisers at her home course, Old York Country Club. She also orchestrated the “Let Her Rip for Charity” campaign where she collected pledges in exchange for hitting the team’s drive for the No. 13 hole.
Grace Chen, Sunnyvale, California, Class of 2018
After battling leukemia, Chen realized her desire to give back and started raising money for the Gracious Life Foundation in 2009. The organization focuses on defeating leukemia and childhood cancer. Volunteers bring indoor putting greens to hospitals, camps and the Ronald McDonald House to help the kids exercise and have fun. She has also orchestrated a Birdies for ALL program where participants donated based on birdies juniors made at large tournaments. In total, she raised more than $15,500.
Caroline Craig, Sautee Nacoochee, Georgia, Class of 2019
In addition to her involvement with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at her high school, Craig has raised money for The First Tee of Northwest Florida and volunteered at the Players Class Clinics with younger kids. In 2016, she raised more than $3,500 for The First Tee of Northwest Florida, which will help build new classrooms and a teaching facility in Pensacola.
Thomas Davis, Binghamton, New York, Class of 2018
Davis founded and directed the Seton Catholic Central Captain and Crew Golf Tournament at age 13 to help raise money for golf team uniforms, practice round fees, food and transportation. The 2017 event will benefit the Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus efforts in Haiti. They have raised more than $20,000 in four years. Davis also volunteered in Haiti where he visited a deaf village and played games with children at Mother Teresa’s Home for Sick and Dying Children.
Grant Fairbairn, Orinda, California, Class of 2017
Fairbairn has raised more than $25,800 through Leadership Links to raise awareness to the educational plight of homeless kids within his community. The graduating senior has also worked extensively with autistic and special needs children at the Judge Baker Children Center in Boston to help students utilize exercise to develop better emotional and behavioral self-control.
Christian Fanfelle, San Antonio, Texas, Class of 2018
Fanfelle has raised more than $4,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) through a Birdies-for-Charity campaign and “Team Fanfelle” newsletter. Through three generous donations, Fanfelle promoted a 72-Hour Matching Blitz which raised more than $2,500. He has also participated in the chapter’s Annual JDRF Golf Tournament.
Christopher Gaeta, Lincroft, New Jersey, Class of 2018
Gaeta is the Executive Director of C2 RUSS, a program which unites Northeastern communities to clean city streets and promote Christian faith. Amidst his 250 hours of service, Gaeta has organized logistical operations of the program and coordinated clean-ups with volunteers. Gaeta has also raised nearly $7,000 for The First Tee of the Low Country through fundraisers.
Gerry Jones Jr., Suffolk, Virginia, Class of 2019
Jones recently won the 2017 Succeeding Together essay contest sponsored by Wells Fargo, which rewards camaraderie in volunteer work. Jones volunteers at The First Tee of Hampton Roads by teaching basic golf skills to kids and serves at an ambassador in local community events. He also coordinated Golf-a-thons and raised more than $12,000 for the program.
William Mirams, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, Class of 2019
Mirams started the Doreen Mirams Charity in honor of his late grandmother to help breast cancer sufferers. In three years, he has raised more than $40,000 through the Doreen Mirams Memorial Golf Tournament and other fundraisers like raffle ball-drops and Walmart solicitations.
Max Rohwedder, Prospect Heights, Illinois, Class of 2017
Rohwedder volunteers and staffs tournaments for the Illinois Junior Golf Association (IJGA). He also leads junior golf programs and outings for the Prospect Heights Park District and Old Orchard Country Club. Through Leadership Links, he has raised more than $5,000 for the ACE Grant and the IJGA.
Audrey Pulliam, Little Rock, Arkansas, Class of 2017
Pulliam has raised more than $20,000 for the supplies to build a church in the Dominican Republic through Little Rock First Baptist Church and later participated in the build. She has visited the Dominican Republic three times with her church and continues to raise money for more churches.
Muskan Uppal, (India) Cornelius, North Carolina, Class of 2019
Uppal participated in the Birdies for Charity program and has raised more than $3,000 for The First Tee of Greater Charlotte. She also ran a golf equipment drive at her home course, The Peninsula Club, and has donated more than 500 clubs, 30 bags and 3,600 golf balls to The First Tee of Greater Charlotte. As student head of the Project Wrap-In campaign, she also organized a school-wide event during the holidays to encourage students and families to donate nearly 3,000 presents for less-fortunate community members.
Lauren Waidner, Fleming Island, Florida, Class of 2017
Waidner raises money for the Reach Out and Read program and has participated in book drives and book inventory for the program. The physicians’ organization promotes early literacy by giving out books to children who visit the practice. She has raised more than $5,000 for the program and participates in the Read and Romp festivals to help educate the community on the importance of early reading and literacy.
About Leadership Links
Since 2009, the Leadership Links program has helped more than 2,000 junior golfers make a difference in their communities by generating more than $1.7 million in charitable contributions to hundreds of charities and the AJGA's Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant.
Leadership Links is a program that allows the AJGA to further its mission to help develop young men and women by teaching charitable-giving skills and service-oriented practices at an early age. This program gives juniors all the tools necessary to donate their time, talent and resources to local charities and the ACE Grant. Visit www.ajga.org/ll for more.
About the USGA
The USGA conducts the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open, as well as 10 annual amateur championships, two state team championships and international matches, attracting players and fans from more than 160 countries. Together with The R&A, the USGA governs the game worldwide, jointly administering the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status, equipment standards and World Amateur Golf Rankings. The USGA’s reach is global with a working jurisdiction in the United States, its territories and Mexico, serving more than 25 million golfers and actively engaging 150 golf associations.
The USGA is one of the world’s foremost authorities on research, development and support of sustainable golf facility management practices. It serves as a primary steward for the game’s history and invests in the development of the game through the delivery of its services and its ongoing “For the Good of the Game” grants program. Additionally, the USGA’s Course Rating and Handicap systems are used on six continents in more than 50 countries. For more information about the USGA, visit usga.org.
About the AJGA
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The AJGA provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls, ages 12-19) of more than 6,600 members from 50 states and 55 foreign countries. Through initiatives like the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant, a financial assistance program, and Leadership Links, a service-oriented platform that teaches juniors charitable-giving skills, the AJGA fosters the growth of golf’s next generation.
TaylorMade-adidas Golf became the AJGA’s National Sponsor in 2016 after more than 25 years of support. Rolex, which is in its fourth decade of AJGA sponsorship, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2017, adidas joined the AJGA as a Premier Partner, serving as the Official Apparel and Footwear of the AJGA.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 830 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, Sergio Garcia, Hunter Mahan, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Justin Thomas, Stacy Lewis, Ariya Jutanugarn, Alison Lee, Lexi Thompson, Inbee Park, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Cristie Kerr and Morgan Pressel.