Young golfers from a wide variety of backgrounds enjoyed their day at the PGA Community Relations Youth Clinic. (Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America)
Senior PGA Championship leaves mark on Denver youth community
In a special day of junior golf activities, more than 200 area youngsters participated in a PGA Community Relations Youth Clinic that offered PGA instruction, games, lunch and many more fun and healthy activities.
AURORA, Colo. – The youth of Denver and throughout Colorado will feel the impact of the 71st Senior PGA Championship long after the winner hoists the Alfred S. Bourne Trophy into the air Sunday at Colorado Golf Club.
Through the PGA of America’s Community Relations program – fueled by the efforts of the Colorado PGA Section and its partners – the Senior PGA Championship will deliver much more than a weekend’s drama on the course.
More than 200 area youngsters participated in a Community Relations Youth Clinic May 23 at Common Ground Golf Course in Aurora. A morning session offered games and instruction from nearly 30 PGA Professionals.
Following lunch, youngsters were entertained by one of the country’s most unique golf programs by PGA Honorary Member Dennis Walters of Jupiter, Fla., who for more than 30 years has combined his trick shot skill by adding a large dose of life value lessons for his audience.
One of Walters’ oft-repeated but effective challenges to youngsters reflects his own challenges and successes.
“Get a dream,” Walters said, “and if that dream doesn’t work out, get a new dream.”
Since a freak golf cart accident in 1974 left him a paraplegic, Walters has achieved the improbable by dazzling his audiences nationwide by hitting precision shots while seated on the side of a golf cart. Walters gave his inaugural public golf show exhibition at the 1977 PGA Merchandise Show, and has continued to perfect a remarkable program.
In 2008, Walters was bestowed with the PGA Distinguished Service Award, the Association’s highest annual honor.
The PGA Professional lessons conducted for Denver area youth are reflective of PGA Free Lesson Month, and drew the praise of Craig Hospital Executive Director Barb Page, who watched seven of her hospital program graduates participate in the clinic.
“The event was just great for our Craig Hospital graduates,” said Page. “Today’s program proved that their strength and ability to learn new techniques allow them to improve and enjoy this sport. The PGA Professionals provided encouragement to move forward with golf. A spinal cord or traumatic brain injury may mean you swing the club differently, but you can still play the game.”
As the Championship week progresses, The PGA of America designated five organizations to each receive $5,000 grants from the 71st Senior PGA Pro-Am, to be conducted Tuesday. The five Denver-based organizations are:
• Teach For America Colorado
• The First Tee of Denver
• Colorado Succeeds
• The First Tee of Green Valley Ranch
• Boys and Girls Club of Metro Denver
“The Community Relations outreach makes a difference in the lives of these kids and the reach of these organizations,” said Tim Taylor, co-chairman of the Community Relations Committee for the 71st Senior PGA Championship. “It’s all built around having a fun day or, in the case of the pro-am beneficiaries, a nice donation, but it goes further than that, to have a relationship with a partner like The PGA of America.”
Eddie Ainsworth, executive director of the Colorado PGA Section, points to the demographic of golf as the game’s greatest strength.
“There is no better cross-section of the community,” Ainsworth said. “Some of these kids have a difficult life at home. Some of them are already good, young players looking to go deeper into the game. Golf appeals to them all. We have volunteer professionals here from municipal facilities and from elite clubs like Cherry Hills. Golf reaches across all boundaries and hitting a good golf shot provides the same thrilling experience, no matter who you are.”
The goal of The PGA of America is to make a positive impact through the game itself and also through its interaction with youth-oriented organizations, said Earnie Ellison, PGA director of business & community relations.
“To grow the game and take it to today’s youth is obviously an ideal of The PGA of America,” he said. “But we also want to help the local organizations achieve their goals, and one of the ways we can do that is financially. We have helped our 25 Community Outreach charities raise money through our ticket sales program.
“We have served them through this wonderful clinic,” he added. “And, we will leave a lasting impact through the pro-am grants. Those are benefits that outlive even a great Championship.”
For more details on charitable organizations in the 2010 Senior PGA Championship Community Relations Program, please Click Here.
About the PGA of America
Since 1916, The PGA of America's mission has been twofold: to establish and elevate the standards of the profession and to grow interest and participation in the game of golf.
By establishing and elevating the standards of the golf profession through world-class education, career services, marketing and research programs, the Association enables PGA Professionals to maximize their performance in their respective career paths and showcases them as experts in the game and in the multi-billion dollar golf industry.
By creating and delivering dramatic world-class championships and exciting and enjoyable golf promotions that are viewed as the best of their class in the golf industry, The PGA of America elevates the public's interest in the game, the desire to play more golf, and ensures accessibility to the game for everyone, everywhere. The PGA of America brand represents the very best in golf.