For years, the USGA’s relationships with Allied Golf Associations across the country have proven a vital tool in growing the game of golf. Evidence of that partnership was on display July 24 at USGA headquarters in Liberty Corner, N.J., as the nearby Metropolitan Golf Association (MGA) co-hosted a youth clinic.
The kids began the day with a scavenger hunt at the USGA Golf Museum, a putting clinic on the Pynes Putting Course and a tour of the USGA Research & Test Center. Afterward, 2018 Bob Jones Award recipient Dennis Walters, who was paralyzed from the waist down in a golf-cart accident in 1967, performed a clinic from his handicap-accessible cart and answered participants’ questions.
“We try to give the kids a well-rounded experience at the USGA, including a foundation on the history of the game, the history of the USGA and character values that are not just good for the game of golf,” said Kim Gianetti, manager of Education and Public Outreach for the USGA. “These are lessons that they can carry through their entire life.”
The day was designed to provide opportunities to educate those who will be part of the future of the game on all its aspects, not just the ones that have to do with swinging a club.
“It’s a great day of education and fun,” said Peter Nicholson, director of the MGA Foundation and co-organizer of the event with Gianetti. “It’s a great opportunity to learn some of the other missions of the USGA in terms of Rules and [equipment] testing, agronomy, other initiatives that move the game forward.”
The USGA cannot be everywhere all the time. If the game is going to thrive into the future, it is essential the USGA continues its longstanding relationships with Allied Golf Associations to create educational opportunities such as this one.
“Youth is the future of the game,” said Gianetti. “The values that they learn when they come here and find out about an organization like the USGA, it sticks with the kids. They remember it when they get to high school or college and they’re playing golf. There are so many positives through this particular event, or any event that engages youngsters.”
Brendan Pierce is an intern in the USGA's Global Content and Media Distribution department. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.