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USGA, AJGA Announce Joint Junior Golf Initiative

Community service and educational programs at core of partnership

BRASELTON, Ga. — The United States Golf Association has partnered with the American Junior Golf Association to launch an initiative aimed at the overall growth and development of junior golfers, the USGA and AJGA announced Friday.

“The United States Golf Association is pleased to announce its partnership with the American Junior Golf Association,” said Fred Ridley, president of the USGA. “By working more closely and in a more coordinated fashion, we will be able to reach even more youth and provide education to the next generation of golfers regarding the values and life lessons inherent in the game.”

Ridley and Stephen Hamblin, executive director of the AJGA, announced the formation of this joint initiative at Long Cove Club on Hilton Head Island, S.C., where they are attending the AJGA’s 28th annual Rolex Tournament of Champions.

“The USGA deserves tremendous credit for reaching out to organizations like the AJGA and trying to create a win-win relationship,” Hamblin said. “It is the ultimate compliment to us when an organization like the USGA is willing to support our mission and purpose.”

The initiative focuses on community service and education, which the organizations hope will contribute to the overall growth and development of young golfers, while strengthening the game of golf.

“The young people we are reaching today, through AJGA events, USGA Junior Championships and the USGA Grants and Fellowship Program are the game’s leaders of tomorrow,” Ridley said. “Our joint efforts with the AJGA will benefit the game today and in the years to come.”

The community service initiative will be achieved by the formation of the USGA/AJGA Youth Leadership Club. AJGA members will be encouraged to “give back to the game” by donating their time and talent to programs supported by the USGA Grants Initiative. Each July, at the Rolex Tournament of Champions, the president of the USGA will be on hand to present the President’s Youth Leadership Club Award to one boy and one girl who have demonstrated the leadership skills, character and community service through their involvement in the program.

The education initiative will serve as a vehicle for teaching AJGA members about the Rules of Golf, rules of amateur status, and etiquette, while providing USGA-produced resource materials to each junior. In addition, the USGA staff will provide expertise as rules officials at AJGA Invitational events and instructors at AJGA Junior Player Workshops. Also, all AJGA members will be given a complimentary USGA Junior Membership.

To further develop the future leaders of golf, the USGA will annually provide four PJ Boatwright Interns to learn all aspects of golf administration at the AJGA National Headquarters each summer.

To aid in the implementation of the initiative, a USGA Executive Committee member will serve on the AJGA Board of Directors.

The USGA, golf’s governing body in this country and Mexico, works closely with the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland to produce a uniform code of Rules of Golf that are observed worldwide.

The organization’s most visible role, however, is played out each season in conducting 13 national championships, including the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open, and U.S. Senior Open. The other 10 national championships are exclusively for amateurs, and include the U.S. Junior Amateur and the U.S. Girls’ Junior. Record entries were received in 2005 for the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open.

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, the largest Association of its kind, has a junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 30 foreign countries.

Titleist, the AJGA’s National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association’s success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, which enters its third decade of support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.

AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 160 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 300 wins. AJGA alumni include Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Dottie Pepper, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Paula Creamer.
For more information, please contact Rob Coleman (rcoleman@ajga.org), AJGA Chief Communications Officer at (770) 868-4200, or Marty Parkes (mparkes@usga.org), USGA Senior Director of Communications at (908) 234-2300.

USGA Grants Initiative: A Capsule History
The United States Golf Association works to make the game of golf affordable and accessible. Since 1997, the Grants Initiative has traditionally focused on programming for economically disadvantaged kids and individuals with disabilities. The USGA Executive Committee has extended this Grants Initiative to the end of the decade, bringing total anticipated USGA support to $65 million to provide financial support and assistance to deserving golf programs. Beyond its Grants Initiative, the USGA partners with national organizations to promote affordable and accessible facility development, course access, girls’ golf, and initiatives for individuals with disabilities. For more information on the USGA Grants Initiative, contact the Grants office at (719) 471-4810 or visit the Grants Section of the USGA Web site at www.usga.org.