Nick Leibold, of Littleton, Colo., was named the male recipient of the 2015 USGA-AJGA Presidents’ Leadership Award, the United States Golf Association and American Junior Golf Association announced Friday.
The USGA-AJGA Presidents' Leadership Award was created to recognize one male and one female junior golfer 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.
“It’s an honor to get this award,” Leibold said. “The campaign was a lot of effort, but it was so worth it to see the impact of my project.”
Leibold, 17, and female recipient Hannah Berman, of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., will be honored on June 24 in Sunriver, Ore., during the Rolex Tournament of Champions. Additionally, they will each receive tickets to a future U.S. Open and an automatic entry into the 2015 Rolex Tournament of Champions, one of the world’s most prestigious junior golf events.
About Nick Leibold
Growing up just outside of Denver, Leibold has always had a passion for his hometown and the game of golf. Over the years, this passion has translated to extensive volunteer work on and off the course.
In the summer of 2014, Leibold took part in the AJGA’s Birdies for Charity program, choosing to donate his earnings to The First Tee of Denver and the AJGA’s Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant. The First Tee of Denver is a nonprofit organization that aims to educate and develop inner-city youth in the Denver area through golf clinics and after-school programs.
“I knew I wanted to donate to a golf charity,” Leibold said. “The First Tee does such a great job teaching the game to kids who might not have the opportunity otherwise. I think it’s great that I get to share the sport I love.”
Leibold created a fundraising website and received pledges from nearly 70 donors for every birdie he made at tournaments during June and July. He also sent monthly updates on his tournament performances and fundraising progress, along with a handwritten thank-you note to each sponsor.
“The donors are the reason I was able to give to The First Tee of Denver,” he said. “They were being so generous, so I needed to thank them and return their generosity.”
His efforts paid off. Leibold raised more than $8,000 for The First Tee of Denver and an additional $3,000 for the ACE Grant. His Birdies for Charity campaign was one of the top three in the nation, which earned him the opportunity to play golf with Rickie Fowler in November.
“What I learned from Rickie is that no matter how rich, famous or popular you become, we all have a responsibility to give back, especially in golf,” Leibold said. “It’s a sport of integrity, honor and discipline. It deserves to be shared with everyone.”
When he isn’t raising money or playing golf, Leibold volunteers as a basketball player partner for the Special Olympics and serves as a mentor to freshman students at Heritage High School. Through his various efforts, he volunteered more than 140 hours in 2014.
“I don’t have a lot of free time,” Leibold said. “School comes first and I’m always busy, but I have a great life. I certainly have time to help.”
Leibold is a member of the National Honor Society, has maintained a 3.98 GPA through his junior year and has been named a Colorado Junior Golf Association Academic All Star every year since 2008.
Looking ahead, Leibold is excited about competing in the Rolex Tournament of Champions. Before graduating in 2016, he plans to volunteer more with The First Tee of Denver over the summer and participate in Leadership Links again.
USGA-AJGA Presidents' Leadership Award – Past Recipients
|2014||John Hayden (Birmingham, Ala.)
Dree Fausnaugh (Maitland, Fla.)
|2013||Patrick Cover (Huntersville, N.C.)
Divya Manthena (Camarillo, Calif.)
|2012||Brandon Pierce (Covington, La.)
Cassie Wang (Lenexa, Kan.)
|2011||John Farese (Sayville, N.Y.)
Natalie Turk (Franklin, Tenn.)
|2010||Drew Johnson (Oak Ridge, N.C.)
Jacqueline Calamaro (Newtown Square, Pa.)
|2009||Zach Herr (New Hope, Pa.)
Emily Gimpel (Lafayette Hill, Pa.)
|2008||Smylie Kaufman (Birmingham, Ala.)
Kelsey Conway (Ventura, Calif.)
|2007||Joseph Suarez (Richmond, Va.)
Angela Villela (Sylmar, Calif.)
|2006||Adam Michel (Orinda, Calif.)
Katrina Delen-Briones (San Francisco, Calif.)
About Leadership Links
Since 2009, the Leadership Links program has helped more than 1,000 junior golfers make a difference in their community by generating more than $1 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. For more information about Leadership Links, contact Beth Dockter at email@example.com or visit www.ajga.org/LL/Index.asp#Programs.
About the USGA
The USGA conducts the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open, as well as 10 national amateur championships, two state team championships and international matches. 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 working jurisdiction comprises the United States, its territories and Mexico.
The USGA is a global leader in the development and support of sustainable golf course management practices. It serves as a primary steward for the game’s history and funds an ongoing “For the Good of the Game” charitable giving 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 www.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 12-18) of more than 6,300 members from 48 states and more than 50 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.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex, which is in its fourth decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 600 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Jordan Spieth, Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, Hunter Mahan, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Stacy Lewis, Vicky Hurst, Inbee Park, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Brittany Lincicome and Morgan Pressel.