Haley Bookholdt of Columbus, New Jersey, was named the female 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 both honored and humbled to be the female recipient of the USGA-AJGA Presidents’ Leadership Award,” Bookholdt said. “Giving back through the game, in a way that also has the opportunity to grow the game, has been an especially rewarding experience. It is tremendously gratifying to know how many young people will be touched by my efforts.”
Bookholdt, 18, and male recipient Grant Fairbairn of Orinda, California, 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 Haley Bookholdt
Haley Bookholdt fell in love with golf at a young age, but she didn’t always share that passion with anyone outside her family. Growing up in rural New Jersey and playing at Old York Country Club, many of her friends did not know about her love for golf. So it became a special bond for her and her family.
Bookholdt and her dad grew an affinity for the game together, as he caddied for her at many events and would practice with her. Traveling to tournaments with her dad was an experience she said she took for granted.
“I was lucky that my family could afford to provide me with these opportunities,” Bookholdt said. “When I was younger, I had no concept of the sacrifices being made in terms of time and money by my family.”
The Elon University commit realized that many other kids were not lucky enough to share in those opportunities, so she started fundraisers to help The First Tee of Greater Trenton amplify its efforts. Her first fundraiser in 2015 raised more than $39,000, and she has raised more than $55,000 in total.
“Their mission resonated with me, and I knew this would be a good place to direct my efforts,” Bookholdt said. “The First Tee gives kids who would otherwise never have the chance an introduction to the game of golf and everything that comes with it.”
Bookholdt continued her efforts through the AJGA’s Leadership Links program, putting together “Let Her Rip!”, a Birdies for Charity campaign. With pledges for every birdie made in her official tournaments, she raised an additional $17,000 for The First Tee of Greater Trenton and the AJGA’s Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant. The ACE Grant provides financial assistance to young men and women who aspire to earn a college golf scholarship through competitive junior golf.
“Golf truly has an unbelievable ability to bring people together,” Bookholdt said. “Giving back through the game is especially fulfilling. It is my hope that providing kids from under-served communities with these experiences will encourage them to dream bigger, set higher goals and have the courage to pursue them.”
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.