Something unique took place for juniors during the 2011 U.S. Women's Open at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo. Thousands of juniors attending the major championship participated in the Colorado PGA Sports Academy, hosted by the Colorado PGA Section and the LPGA/USGA Girls Golf Program.
Girls and boys had the opportunity to experience the game of golf first hand by going through the Colorado PGA Sports Academy, where they could hit golf shots and receive a lesson from a Colorado PGA Professional.
The Junior Experience introduces young fans to the game of golf so they can discover just how much fun golf can be for a lifetime. The Colorado PGA, in conjunction with all the Allied Golf Associations of Colorado, under the umbrella of the Colorado Open Golf Foundation, launched a Golf in Schools program in February with the goal of being in 20 schools and reaching 3,000 students. To date the program is in 40 schools with more than 7,000 students going through the program.
"The response has been overwhelming," said Eddie Ainsworth, the Executive Director of the Colorado PGA. "Our PGA Professionals go into schools at absolutely no cost to the schools or the students, and introduce them to the game of golf.
"Being here at the U.S. Women's Open is a great opportunity for us to introduce even more kids to the game. About 50 percent of the juniors going through our Colorado PGA Sports Academy have never played a round of golf or even held a golf club. We have seen more than 5,000 kids go through the Colorado Section PGA Sports Academy, which is designed to increase fundamental movements to improve golf performance."
Among the PGA Professionals on site to provide instruction were 2010 PGA Junior Golf Leader Ann Finke and 2007 PGA Junior Golf Leader Danny Harvanek.
Leading the juniors through the PGA Sports Academy was The PGA of America's Director of Fitness and Performance, David Donatucci.
In addition to promoting the game of golf, the Junior Experience was also promoting the Health and Wellness benefits of playing golf. Juniors received a pedometer and were encouraged to keep track of the number of steps they took during the championship.
"Golf is a game you can play your entire life, whether you are eight or eighty-eight, it is a sport for a lifetime," said Donatucci. "While walking an average eighteen hole round of golf, you can walk anywhere from four to six miles."
To learn more about the Colorado PGA Golf in Schools Program, the PGA Sports Academy, and the Health and Wellness Benefits of golf, go to coloradopga.com. To learn more about the LPGA/USGA Girls Golf Program go to lpga.com.