The USGA works to make the game of golf affordable and accessible. Since 1997, the USGA Grants Initiative has provided more than $65 million to in excess of 1,000 programs that serve economically-disadvantaged juniors and individuals with disabilities. More than 2.2 million participants have benefited from these programs. Beyond its Grants Initiative, the USGA operates several direct charitable activities and partners with national organizations to promote accessible facility development, affordable course access, opportunities for girls in golf, and initiatives for individuals with disabilities.
The USGA has long supported junior golf programs in the Greater Seattle area through its For the Good of the Game Grants Initiative, which provides affordable access to the game to underserved youth, girls, and individuals with disabilities. Since 1997 more than a half a million dollars has been awarded in the Greater Seattle area to 12 different programs and $37,000 to three other programs in the state of Washington:
Grant Giving in Greater Seattle Area
Total Amount Awarded
Pacific Northwest Golf Association
Friends of American Lake Veterans Golf Course
Pacific Northwest PGA Junior Golf Fund
Fir State Junior Golf Foundation
Seattle Junior Golf Foundation
Grass Roots Junior Golf
Metro Parks Foundation
JR Golf Tour
Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound
Keepers of the Game
Total Greater Seattle Giving
Championships in this area:
2010 U.S. Senior Open, Sahalee Country Club, Sammamish, Wash.
2010 U.S. Amateur, Chambers Bay, University Place, Wash.
2011 U.S. Junior Amateur, Gold Mountain Golf Complex (Olympic Course), Bremerton, Wash.
Story Pitches for this area:
The First Tee of Greater Seattle, Seattle, Wash.:
TFT GS is a longtime USGA-supported program that is highly successful. Former USGA Fellow, Kim Brown (2004) is the current Assistant Executive Director. One incredible story that they have is Steve Shondra, who began participating when TFT GS opened its doors in 2003. Steve really took to the values of The First Tee in making a difference in the community. In 2008, he started a Youth Grant Making Board through the Make The Dash Count Foundation. He rallied a group of teenagers to come together to learn about philanthropy and make a difference in the South Seattle Community. The Board Steve started now gives $20,000 each grant cycle to local non-profit organizatons that create opportunities for youth. His commitment to the community is inspirational, and grew out of participation in The First Tee. He gave a speech with Colin Powell in February 2009 at The First Tee Annual Meeting on what it means to take the values of the game of golf to become a "Force Fore Good" in the community.
Friends of American Lake Veterans, Lakewood, Wash.:
An entirely volunteer-based organization which runs and maintains the American Lake Veterans Golf Course. A $35,000 grant awarded by the USGA in 2007 allowed the organization to make accessibility improvements to the 9-hole facility. The USGA has supported organizations which reach rehabilitating soldiers and veterans for nearly 20 years. Particpants report that the game is especially theraputic and parallels the challenges they face in daily life now that they have returned. Furthermore, participants cherish the camaraderie they find in being around fellow veterans in the outdoors. Recently, Jack Nicklaus' course design company has pleged to donate their services to design an additional nine holes to give veterans access to a full 18. In November, Nickalus helped host a two day clinic and fundraiser which raised $2 Million for the back-nine project. Finally, this organization has a very good relationship with the Champions Tour as multiple members have participated in free clinics. Some of the players with this connection will likely be in the Senior Open field.
Special Olympics Washington, Seattle, Wash.:
This is a first-time USGA supported program who offers great programming for individuals with disabilities throughout the state of Washington. Championship director of the 2010 US Senior Open at Sahalee, Mike Zinga, has a daughter with a disability (she's only six and doesn't participate in Special Olympics programs yet), but his story and his passion for improving this program and continuing to support it is compelling.
Compiled by Michael Lippert. E-mail him for more information at email@example.com.