SERVING THE GAME
USGA Extends First Tee Support; Strengthens Diversity in Game October 20, 2021 | Liberty Corner, N.J. and Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. By Danny Vohden, USGA

The USGA's longtime investment in The First Tee has played a role in making the game more diverse and inclusive. (The First Tee)

The USGA has distributed $200,000 in grants across 20 First Tee chapters through the inaugural IDEA grant program – a dedicated effort to directly empower inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility efforts at the local golf level.

The program was created this year to address the barriers that underserved and underrepresented youths face in their potential introduction to and participation in golf and First Tee’s character-building programs. Grants range from $20,000 to $7,500 and support initiatives including transportation for youths to get to and from First Tee program locations as well as recruitment and training of diverse staff and coaches.

“We have a commitment as an organization to be an impactful partner to those in the industry who share our vision for what we want golf’s future to look like,” said Mike Whan, CEO of the USGA. “Both the USGA and First Tee believe that golf is a better game now and in the future when it’s accessible and representative of everyone, and it starts at the junior level.”

“The USGA’s support is a game changer for youths in the communities that we serve,” said Greg McLaughlin, First Tee CEO. “With these grants, our chapters are opening the door to even more youth, especially in underserved and underrepresented communities, to explore the possibilities in golf and beyond as they build their character and life lessons through the game.”

Since 1997, the USGA has invested more than $33 million among First Tee, LPGA-USGA Girls Golf, and Drive, Chip & Putt programs in an effort to provide greater access to golf for juniors and cultivate a lifelong passion for the game. The commitment is part of a $1.3 million annual investment the organization makes in national programs that reach young people, fueled by revenue from the U.S. Open.

Grant applications were available to First Tee chapters located within the 14 markets where USGA championships took place in 2021 and where they are scheduled in 2022, as well as chapters affiliated with one of the association’s 59 Allied Golf Associations (AGAs). Located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, AGAs serve millions of golfers at the recreational level by increasing engagement and participation and improving the golfer experience.

The 2021 grant recipients include:

First Tee Chapter

USGA Championship Host Communities and Supporting USGA Allied Golf Associations

First Tee — San Diego

2021 U.S. Open, Southern California Golf Association

First Tee — Sandhills

2022 U.S. Women’s Open, Carolinas Golf Association

First Tee — Pittsburgh

2021 U.S. Amateur, Western Pennsylvania Golf Association

First Tee — Greater Pasadena

Southern California Golf Association

First Tee — West Michigan

2021 U.S. Senior Amateur, Golf Association of Michigan

First Tee — Washington, D.C.

2021 U.S. Girls’ Junior, Maryland State Golf Association

First Tee — Cincinnati

Greater Cincinnati Golf Association

First Tee — Greater Charleston (S.C.)

Carolinas Golf Association

First Tee — West Virginia

West Virginia Golf Association

First Tee — Upstate South Carolina

Carolinas Golf Association

First Tee — Silicon Valley

2021 U.S. Women’s Open, Northern California Golf Association

First Tee — Metropolitan New York

2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur, Metropolitan Golf Association

First Tee — Louisville

Kentucky Golf Association

First Tee — Greater Baltimore

2021 U.S. Girls’ Junior, Maryland State Golf Association

First Tee — Central Carolina

2022 U.S. Women’s Open, Carolinas Golf Association

First Tee — Greater Philadelphia

Golf Association of Philadelphia  

First Tee — Hawaii

Hawaii State Golf Association  

First Tee — Coachella Valley

Southern California Golf Association

First Tee — Omaha

2021 U.S. Senior Open, Nebraska Golf Association

First Tee — Connecticut

2021 U.S. Senior Women’s Open, Connecticut State Golf Association