US Golf Association awards $ 10,000 to First Tee Youth Golf Program in West Michigan

KALAMAZOO, MI – A nonprofit organization that offers free, low-cost golf lessons to young people in western Michigan has received $ 10,000 to expand access to its programs.

The US Golf Association distributed $ 200,000 in grants to 20 First Tee Chapters as part of the inaugural IDEA Grants Program, an effort to directly strengthen inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility at the level local.

First Tee – West Michigan is one of 20 chapters receiving funding this year. The local, which recently expanded to Kalamazoo, received $ 10,000 under the grant program, according to the USGA.

Related: First Tee Youth Golf Program Comes to Kalamazoo in 2021

Approximately 220 children will be affected by grants received by the West Michigan Chapter, which operates junior golf programs throughout the region.

With the funds, the section plans to increase partnerships with area schools and offer six-class sessions at each school, while maintaining new relationships developed in the community and other organizations.

Additionally, the West Michigan First Tee section plans to increase opportunities for scholarship students in two of their largest markets, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. Recipients will receive individual instruction from PGA professionals.

The program was created this year to overcome obstacles faced by underserved and under-represented youth when participating in First Tee’s golf and character-building programs, according to the USGA.

USGA grants ranged from $ 7,500 to $ 20,000 and supported initiatives including transportation of participants to and from First Tee program sites, as well as the recruitment and training of various members of the staff and coaches.

Since 1997, the USGA has invested more than $ 33 million in First Tee; LPGA-USGA Girls Golf; and the Drive, Chip & Putt programs to provide better access to golf for juniors and cultivate a lifelong passion for the game, the association said. The pledge is part of an annual investment of $ 1.3 million the organization makes in national programs, reaching young people, and is fueled by US Open revenue.

Grant applications were available for First Tee Chapters located in the 14 markets, where the USGA Championships were held in 2021, and Chapters affiliated with any of the 59 USGA Allied Golf Associations. To learn more, visit usga.org or firstteewestmichigan.org

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