By Laura Fellwock (@AJGAFellwock), AJGA Communications
It started with an idea about giving back to junior golfers and turned into a fundraising event that raised over $100,000 for the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant program.
In 2015, Andy Neher, President of Old Sandwich Golf Club in Plymouth, Massachusetts, brought the idea of a fundraising tournament where all proceeds would benefit the ACE Grant to Stephen Hamblin, AJGA Executive Director. Since 2003, the ACE Grant has helped over 700 juniors travel and participate in top-level tournaments by reimbursing travel, food and other necessary expenses to the tune of $2.8 million in order to help those juniors receive $14 million in college golf scholarships.
After hosting the Wyndham Cup in 2010 and 2014 at Old Sandwich, Neher knew he wanted to begin a new tradition.
“It’s been in the works for a year, and we cannot thank the membership enough for their support,” Neher said at a banquet following the event.
The 2016 ACE Grant Cup featured 18 foursomes who each made a donation in order to participate, along with additional contributions. Participants attended a banquet after the event, where they received letters from ACE Grant recipients and heard from ACE Grant recipient and 2016 USGA-AJGA Presidents’ Leadership Award recipient Angelica Harris.
“Thanks to the ACE Grant and support from my family, I was able to play competitive junior golf, meet new friends and learn the ropes of college recruiting,” Harris said. “I am proud to say, that in two weeks I will be attending Washington University in St. Louis on a full scholarship.”
Neher presented a check to the ACE Grant for $100,000, the largest donation from a fundraising event in the ACE Grant’s history.
The goal is for the ACE Grant Cup to become an annual event, moving around the country in support of the ACE Grant for golf’s next generation. The Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Florida, will host the event in April 2017.
For more information about the ACE Grant, please visit ajga.org/acegrant.