The PGA of America and national African-American Fraternity Sigma Pi Phi partnered for the second consecutive year to provide a free, six-week PGA Jr. League program to more than 320 youth of color across 10 markets in Texas, Florida, Georgia, California, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C.
When the program was piloted in 2016, there were 238 participants in seven cities in Texas, Florida and Georgia. For the 2017 expansion, Callaway Golf donated 40 sets of youth golf clubs, with each participating facility receiving four sets to give to participants that needed equipment.
The aim of the partnership is to increase racial and ethnic diversity in PGA Jr. League, and strides are clearly being made. In 2017, Sigma Pi Phi’s impact on PGA Jr. League led to a 49 percent increase in youth of color participation.
Funding for the program is provided through PGA REACH, the 501 (c)(3) foundation of the PGA of America. PGA Jr. League is the flagship youth pillar program of PGA REACH, with the goal of making the program accessible to all interested kids in the United States and around the world.
“It is a privilege for PGA REACH to work with Sigma Pi Phi in order to positively impact lives through the game of golf,” said PGA REACH Senior Director Ryan Cannon. “We look forward to continuing our work together in the years to come.”
PGA Jr. League brings family and friends together around fun, team golf experiences with expert coaching from PGA and LPGA Professionals. The program is a healthy activity that gets kids outdoors, and its scramble format builds confidence and encourages sportsmanship among boys and girls of all skill levels.
Sigma Pi Phi Boulés (chapters) in each market recruit local youth to participate in the program, with kids coming from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds. Boulés volunteer to assist PGA Professionals in leading the kids through the program.
The Sigma Pi Phi PGA Jr. League program sponsored by PGA REACH has been an incredible success for our fraternity,” said Wes Coleman, Grand Sire Archon of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. “We have impacted the lives of over 400 youth of color in 10 metropolitan areas around the country, which falls in line with the mission of the fraternity’s social action program. We are grateful for the partnership between PGA of America and Sigma Pi Phi, and we look forward to impacting the lives of more children of color as we expand the PGA Jr. League program throughout the fraternity’s entire footprint.”
Participating facilities and host PGA Professionals include:
• Sandhill Crane Golf Club (Palm Beach Gardens, Florida) – Sherri Pla, PGA
• Country Club of Miami (Miami, Florida) – Larry Levow, PGA
• Cedar Crest Golf Course (Dallas, Texas) – Ira Molayo, PGA
• The Clubs of Kingwood (Houston, Texas) – Aurora Kirchner-McClain, PGA
• Bull Creek Golf Course (Midland, Georgia) – Steve Paine, PGA
• Quantum Performance Institute (Orlando, Florida) – Anthony Stepney, PGA
• Vitense Golf Land (Madison, Wisconsin) – Brad Munn, PGA
• University of Maryland Golf Course (College Park, Maryland) – Jeff Maynor, PGA
• Jimmy Clay Golf Course (Austin, Texas) – Steve Hammond, PGA
• Westchester Golf Course (Los Angles, California) – Sean Keller, PGA