Grant Fairbairn of Orinda, California, was named the male recipient of the 2017 USGA-AJGA Presidents’ Leadership Award, the United States Golf Association and American Junior Golf Association announced Tuesday, May 23.
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 created by the USGA and AJGA in 2005 to further develop junior golfers through volunteerism.
“I am extremely grateful to be receiving the AJGA President’s Leadership Award,” Fairbairn said. “I want to thank the AJGA and the USGA for making the work of serving others a priority for AJGA members through the Leadership Links Program.”
Fairbairn, 18, and female recipient Haley Bookholdt of Columbus, New Jersey, will be honored on June 27 in Ringoes, New Jersey, at the Polo Golf Dinner of Champions. Additionally, they will each receive tickets to a future U.S. Open and automatic entry into the 2017 Polo Golf Junior Classic, one of the world’s most prestigious junior golf events, at The Ridge at Back Brook in Ringoes.
Polo Golf Junior Classic Acceptance Speech
About Grant Fairbairn
Grant Fairbairn has always valued support in golf and in life. Since starting golf late in his freshman year at College Prep High School, he had to learn to persevere through the struggles of learning the game amongst his talented peers. Through the support of his coaches, family and friends, he has learned the value of uplifting environments and wanted to share that encouragement with others.
Fairbairn’s involvement with the Judge Baker Children’s Center taught him how to help those in need. Judge Baker works with Harvard University researchers to teach children with behavioral disorders about the value of exercise and helping children manage their emotions.
“In time, I found ways to communicate with the kids,” Fairbairn said. “I had to convince the kids to ride the bicycles by demonstrating myself. Their eyes lit up when they started and we had fun together.”
Judge Baker also holds a special place with Fairbairn because he will play college golf at Harvard University in the fall.
“The lessons about supportive communities and personal responsibility that I learned from golf allowed me to understand and help the students at the Judge Baker summer program,” Fairbairn said.
The work he conducted at Judge Baker also inspired his work with the Community Education Program (CEP), which encourages literacy and education among homeless families by pairing kids with tutors. The reading events that celebrate both the kids and their families are almost single-handedly funded by Fairbairn’s fundraising efforts.
“No great achievement is accomplished alone,” Fairbairn said. “Greatness comes to fruition through a strong community, through people who help us get back up when we stumble and who cheer us on when we thrive.”
Through his Birdies for Charity program, which collects pledges based on birdies carded in official tournaments, Fairbairn has raised more than $25,800 for the CEP program and the AJGA’s Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant. The Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant provides financial assistance to young men and women who aspire to earn a college golf scholarship through competitive junior golf.
“I learned support, in part, by playing golf,” Fairbairn said. “Hopefully, as part of my contributions to Judge Baker and CEP, even more kids across the country will also get the support they need.”
USGA-AJGA Presidents' Leadership Award – Past Recipients
Daniel Berlin (Chagrin Falls, Ohio)
Angelica Harris (Harvey, La.)
Nick Leibold (Littleton, Colo.)
Hannah Berman (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.)
John Hayden (Birmingham, Ala.)
Dree Fausnaugh (Maitland, Fla.)
Patrick Cover (Huntersville, N.C.)
Divya Manthena (Camarillo, Calif.)
Brandon Pierce (Covington, La.)
Cassie Wang (Lenexa, Kan.)
John Farese (Sayville, N.Y.)
Natalie Turk (Franklin, Tenn.)
Drew Johnson (Oak Ridge, N.C.)
Jacqueline Calamaro (Newtown Square, Pa.)
Zach Herr (New Hope, Pa.)
Emily Gimpel (Lafayette Hill, Pa.)
Smylie Kaufman (Birmingham, Ala.)
Kelsey Conway (Ventura, Calif.)
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.