LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Through its Community Relations Program, The PGA of America celebrates the 15th year of outreach support to the Louisville Metropolitan area by enriching the lives of citizens through the Louisville Urban Youth Golf Program, The First Tee, scholarship support, diverse supplier initiative, and the promotion of health and wellness through the game of golf.
The 72nd Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, May 24-29, is the seventh overall PGA of America championship to be conducted in Louisville, with six championships hosted by Valhalla Golf Club since 1996. The PGA of America partnership with Louisville civic leaders evolved into the origin of the Louisville Urban Youth Golf Program in 1997, The First Tee in 1998, the birth of the PGA diverse supplier initiative in 1997; a scholarship program with the University of Louisville; and fund raising initiatives surrounding premier championships that benefit multiple charitable organizations. Through partnerships with PGA suppliers, a number of Louisville citizens were employed and enhanced their skills in the areas of culinary, security and event management services.
Since 1996, some 590 youth-focused charities within the Kentuckiana area have benefited from The PGA’s championships conducted at Valhalla Golf Club, receiving approximately $2.2 million in value to assist their causes. Additionally, some 1,050 youngsters with varying levels of physical abilities have participated in youth golf clinics conducted in conjunction with these Championships; many eventually took up the game of golf.
“The City of Louisville is a second home to The PGA of America, and what an amazing past 15 years we have experienced between us! While we have presented world-class championships, we also have connected with civic and corporate leaders of this great city that we may give back to youth and support so many worthy causes,” said PGA of America President Allen Wronowski. “We are proud of the partnerships developed within Louisville, and take a step back and feel blessed that golf has been the catalyst for making the future brighter for many of its citizens.”
This week, the PGA Community Relations Program focuses on three events:
• The Senior PGA Championship Tickets for Charity Program, which benefits 125 Greater Louisville charitable organizations
• The Senior PGA Championship Youth Clinic, May 23, at Shawnee Golf Course, guided by Kentucky PGA Section professionals, that introduces the PGA Sports Academy’s fitness curriculum to more than 200 youngsters.
• The Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid Pro-Am, May 24, at Valhalla Golf Club, which raises funds for the PGA Foundation that in turn allocates proceeds to support the growth of the game programs within the Greater Louisville communities.
“Since the 1996 PGA Championship, The PGA of America has shared its civic, corporate, and socially responsible role in Louisville,” said Louisville Urban League President/CEO Ben Richmond. “I was here at the start, and every year that a Championship has come to town, there has been some new community relations component. Through it all, The PGA has helped people get involved in the game of golf. I think that The PGA has proven itself to be an excellent corporate citizen.”
This year, the PGA Community Relations Program will donate fitness equipment that will benefit five Louisville Metro Community Centers – California, Beechmont, Park Hill, Southwick and Newburg. According to the Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, those centers are located in sections of the city that have social, economic and environmental barriers that hamper opportunities for physical activity and access to affordable nutritious food.
Shawnee Golf Course is the site of the original First Tee chapter, founded in 1998. The Kentucky Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, Louisville Metro Parks, Louisville Urban League, and local businesses joined The PGA of America to create a facility where inner-city youth could learn to play and enjoy the game of golf.
“The PGA of America came through and delivered upon three promises,” said Richmond. “It hired a senior level director in minority and business management, it created the Louisville Urban Youth Golf Program that has many success stories; and it created the minority business supplier program. It did all of those and continues to support local programs.”
The PGA Community Relations partnership with Louisville features the support of the 320-member Kentucky PGA Section, which will have more than 80 volunteers at the 72nd Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, and have 12 instructors at the May 23 Youth Clinic.
PGA of America Championships in Louisville
1952: 34th PGA Championship at Big Spring Country Club
1996: 78th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club
2000: 82nd PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club
2002: 35th PGA Professional National Championship at Valhalla Golf Club
2004: 65th Senior PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club
2008: 37th Ryder Cup at Valhalla Golf Club
2011: 72nd Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid at Valhalla Golf Club
About The PGA of America
Celebrating its 95th year, The PGA of America has maintained a twofold mission of its founders: 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 PGA enables its professionals to maximize their performance in their respective career paths and showcases them as experts in the game and in a multi-billion dollar golf industry. By creating and delivering dramatic world-class championships and exciting and enjoyable 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.