PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – PGA Jr. League is continuing to make a positive impact in the industry, with its game-changing approach to youth golf.
Introduced in 2012, as golf’s first recreational team format for kids, a record-setting 42,000 boys and girls played on 3,400 PGA Jr. League teams in 2017—a roughly 16 percent year-over-year increase. Of these players, 80 percent identified as beginner or recreational golfers, speaking to the developmental nature of the program. Additionally, 25 percent of players were girls.
“Thanks to the efforts of nearly 2,300 PGA and LPGA Professionals captaining PGA Jr. League teams, kids are engaging in golf in a welcoming format that fosters a lifetime love of the game,” said PGA President Paul Levy. “We’re encouraged by the growth of the program and look forward to seeing it further impact youth golf participation as a whole.”
PGA Jr. League brings friends and family together around a fun, team golf experience with expert coaching from PGA and LPGA Professionals. Boys and girls of all backgrounds and skill levels learn and play together in a supportive, two-person scramble format that encourages mentorship, builds confidence and promotes sportsmanship.
“Our goal is to make PGA Jr. League accessible to all interested kids in the United States and around the world,” said PGA REACH Senior Director Ryan Cannon. “With the tremendous support of our partners, we’re focused on achieving our mission of positively impacting lives of youth, in order to grow the game.”
Key PGA Jr. League initiatives to be highlighted in the 2018 season include:
Increasing Diversity: In 2016, PGA REACH partnered with national African-American fraternity Sigma Pi Phi, with the aim of increasing racial and ethnic diversity in PGA Jr. League participation. In its second year, the program grew to nearly 340 youth of color across 10 markets nationwide.
Global Expansion: In 2017, PGA Jr. League expanded to China in partnership with NLN, LLC, a joint venture between the Nicklaus Companies, a global marketing, licensing and golf course design company; League Golf, the original partner developers of the PGA Jr. League format; and NPlay Golf, a golf technology company.
Scholarship Program: Through PGA REACH’s partnership with DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation Sports Matter grant, scholarships are available to players who meet financial need requirements and apply for assistance. The scholarship program launched in 2017 and nearly 400 under-resourced youth have been able to participate because of it.
National Car Rental Support: Announced in November, National Car Rental will serve as the Proud Supporter of PGA Jr. League, which will be added to National’s existing role as Presenting Sponsor of the PGA Jr. League Championship. This partnership will be focused around National providing season-long benefits and enhancements for players, Captains and parents.
New Team Gear and Online Store: National Car Rental’s support of PGA Jr. League has also helped provide each player with two high-quality Garb jerseys to represent home and away games (one orange and one blue), available in boys and girls sizing. Players will also receive a performance t-shirt, bag tag, stickers, hat and drawstring bag. As well, an online store is opening, allowing parents to order additional team gear.
Endemic Support: Additional partner support includes Titleist & FootJoy, TaylorMade, Callaway, PING and COBRA PUMA GOLF. Through the support of these partners during the regular and post-seasons, PGA Jr. League is a better experience for everyone involved.
New Post-Season presented by National Car Rental: A new, schedule-friendly post-season presented by National Car Rental will be introduced during the 2018 season.
“The PGA Jr. League sponsorship represents the strength of our relationship with the PGA of America and our shared commitment to grow the game of golf at the grassroots level," said Rob Connors, Vice President of Brand Marketing for National. "We're proud to be able to deepen our support of the program in 2018."
Rory McIlroy, Michelle Wie, Rickie Fowler and Lexi Thompson serve as Official Ambassadors for PGA Jr. League. PGA Jr. League is the flagship youth pillar program of PGA REACH, the 501 (c)(3) foundation of the PGA of America.
Player registration opens in early February for the 2018 season, and consumers can visit PGAJrLeague.com
to find a team and register.