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Youth Movement January 6, 2022 By Beth Major, USGA

The Cisco Virtual Clinic took place at Colina Park Golf Course in San Diego during the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. (USGA/John Mummert)

The following content was first published in Golf Journal, a quarterly print and monthly digital publication exclusively for USGA Members. To be among the first to receive Golf Journal and to learn how you can help make golf more open for all, become a USGA Member today.

Let’s start with a goal that couldn’t be any clearer: We need to champion golf’s next generation and help it grow. A ton of work has been put into this over the years, and there are countless success stories to learn from and build upon. Now is the time to double down and be relentless in our pursuit. Why? Because the game is better when it has an ever-expanding, diverse and enthusiastic generation of participants.

As a mission-driven organization committed to golf’s future, the USGA has both an imperative and a terrific opportunity to grow the game. It’s why we’ve invested our time, resources and energy into three core junior programs – The First Tee, LPGA-USGA Girls Golf, and Drive, Chip & Putt – that have positively impacted communities, broken down barriers to access and introduced millions of kids to the game. Great things happen as a result of this effort.

Take 17-year-old Megha Ganne, who captured the heart of the golf world by contending in the 76th U.S. Women’s Open at The Olympic Club. Megha’s path was shaped by her experiences with The First Tee and Girls Golf in her home state of New Jersey. It was invigorating to watch her compete, and even more special to see her interact with the many kids who followed her. Even if none of them ever plays in a U.S. Open, they came away inspired.

Golf has the power to unite us, to get us moving and thinking, to help us mentally and spiritually. It has the power to connect communities of families and friends. We all learned that valuable lesson through the pandemic. It teaches us life lessons. In turn, every new face and perspective offers even more to the game. It is time that we embrace this diverse generation that wants to play. 

Do you have a junior in your life who has been asking to go to the range? Take them with you. Thinking about volunteering? Find a First Tee or Girls Golf chapter in your area. Want to help us grow the game? Donate to the USGA Foundation, and we’ll deliver even more impact together. We all have a role. 

The USGA recently announced that we will bring 13 USGA championships to Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon over 23 years. The 2045 U.S. Girls’ Junior and U.S. Junior Amateur championships are part of that schedule – and no player who will compete in either of them will be born until 2026 at the earliest.

Let’s make sure there are enough young people excited about the game to not just play in those championships, but also to play at thousands of courses around the country that will welcome them with open arms. Whether they grow up to be champion golfers or champions of the game, the USGA is behind them. 

Beth Major is the USGA's senior director of communications.