News

Update from AJGA Executive Director Stephen Hamblin

Executive Director Stephen Hamblin shares the AJGA's plans and progress toward a return to golf in 2020.
2017 Junior Presidents Cup Stephen Hamblin.jpg

April 10, 2020

Dear Friends,

While the events of 2020 are some of most difficult and challenging of my 35+-year tenure at the AJGA, our team remains unquestionably committed to its mission and purpose.

Very simply, we exist to help young men and women grow through golf. Our character development programs focus on building public speaking, charitable giving and other life skills, while our Performance Based Entry process and tournaments ensure you have the best platform to earn a college golf scholarship.

I’m proud we have always operated with health and safety as our top priority. During this uncertain time, we have complied with national, state and local orders, and leaned on our expert partners at the PGA TOUR, and golf’s other organizing bodies, to share best practices.

Our team, operating remotely since March 16, is preparing for a return to competitive golf as soon as it is deemed safe by government, health and operations officials. I wanted to share some of the projects we are working on to ensure we provide as many playing opportunities as possible for you in 2020.

These include:

  • Brainstorming multiple contingency plans with help from tournament venues, sponsors and committees to explore all possible options. So far, we have re-scheduled 80% of postponed spring events and are seeking to maximize participation elsewhere.
  • Adjusted tournament application deadlines and refund policy to allow for more flexibility for all members.
  • New technology implemented to ensure our Player Services team can support all customer efforts, including phone calls, remotely.
  • Operations Task Force built to examine and prepare appropriate new procedures to offer continued health and safety at AJGA events.

All of us are experiencing, and expecting, a difficult financial year ahead. We remain focused on providing the quality tournament experience for maximum membership value we’ve created over the past 40 years.

We anticipate local Junior-Am fundraising to be even more critical in 2020. Player participation in Junior-Ams will be one of the best ways you can help the AJGA this season. Alongside significant corporate support, these 18-hole events for local sponsors help us provide these benefits:

  • Flat AJGA membership fees for the past eight years, and a total increase of $20 since 2001
  • $4 million in financial aid distributed to junior golfers and their families with the ACE Grant
  • $1 million+ in annual charity support to 150 different other organizations around the country

We will keep you updated on our progress and initiatives in the coming weeks. In the meantime, thank you for sharing your lives with us on social media (@AJGAGolf) and for sending in stories of the great work being done by our junior golfers to combat the challenges of today’s world.

I am confident we will rise to this challenge as we have done many times in the past … together. Until we see each other next, be well, stay safe, and thank you for your support.

Stephen Hamblin
AJGA Executive Director

The comeback will be EPIC