Photo Essay: An Inspiring Introduction to Golf at the Junior 100 Challenge
By Hayden Lewis, PGA
The game of golf lends itself to much more than a few hours of enjoyment outside with a group of friends. What most don’t realize is how golf can be much more than a game, but an avenue for opportunity and success.
On Aug. 7-8, the One Hundred Black Men of New York and the PGA of America collaborated and organized the second-annual Junior One Hundred Challenge at Ardsley Country Club in Dobbs Ferry, New York. The Junior One Hundred Challenge is a strategic inclusion partnership designed to introduce opportunities within golf to the Junior One Hundred (JOH) membership – a youth leadership and career exposure program open to students ages 12 to 24. The program focuses on career exploration, character development, personal growth, and mentorship.
By leveraging the narrative of PGA WORKS, the 2023 Junior One Hundred Challenge opened the door for over 50 local, Black college and high school-aged members of the JOH to learn the fundamentals of the game, understand possible career opportunities within and beyond the $102 billion golf industry – many of whom have never touched a golf club or let alone stepped foot on a golf course.
Below are a few sights and sounds from awe-inspiring two days as golf, once again, provided the perfect platform for change and new opportunities.
Sitting atop a steep crest overlooking the rolling hills covered in lush, tall trees of the Hudson Valley, Ardsley Country Club provided the perfect backdrop to welcome over 50 students from the New York City area into the game and learn about areas of business. One would never think that, just 35 minutes down the road, you would find yourself surrounded by the hustle and bustle of downtown Manhattan.
It’s all in the details. Students, PGA leaders, and other guests were greeted with live music from the Junior One Hundred Music Team’s jazz band – appropriately named JoJazz. The ensemble included talent straight from the Junior One Hundred cohort. The vibes were unmistakably New York.
On the morning of Aug. 7, members of the Junior One Hundred enjoyed instruction led by PGA Professionals from the Metropolitan, New Jersey, and Philadelphia Sections, as well as other PGA of America Members who traveled from across the country to deliver world-class instruction to the next generation of leaders. The new golfers learned core fundamentals from putting to short game, to full swing, and even getting some holes in on the course – rain couldn’t hold back the newfound appreciation and love of golf.
PGA Master Professional Richard Brown III helps a Junior One Hundred Member line up a tricky putt. Meanwhile, Kendall Murphy, PGA Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Troon Golf, and Louis Hampton III, PGA Assistant Golf Professional at Jumping Brook Country Club take in the scene, moment by moment, at the historic Ardsley Country Club.
“Growing up, it was always about playing the big three – football, basketball, and baseball,” says Michael Lana, a recent high school graduate on his way to the City College of New York this fall. “I came into this week and the Junior One Hundred Challenge with an open mind because it’s something new to learn. Learning from the PGA Professionals who really know this game has inspired me to keep playing golf because I know it can be a game to enjoy for a long time.”
The experience was filled with a wide range of activities from presenting case study findings to the PGA of America and One Hundred Black Men Leadership, to hearing inspiring messages from Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, David Banks. In addition, a powerful panel discussion titled “Leading With You” inspired students to find inner strength and forge their own path that aligns with their personal career aspirations. The panel included Troon Golf DE&I Director Kendall Murphy, PGA, Regional Vice President of Enterprise Holdings for Long Island, John Mackey, and Niara Consulting Founder Jodi Brockington. Additionally, the group of students were led through a resume workshop by PGA of America Career Services.
“I think it’s incredibly important for the game of golf to look more like America,” says Hampton. “The more that golf looks like America, the more people are going to enjoy playing the game. Sometimes it’s easy to assume how different we are from each other. Once we get on the golf course it’s amazing to witness how much more we have in common than we thought.”
Oftentimes, people don’t think about how golf and fashion go hand-in-hand. There was no lack of style on the golf course as students showed out in big and small ways – each matching their own energy and personality to perfection.
On day two, members of the Junior One Hundred and PGA Professionals put their golf skills to the test at Ardsley Country Club – playing in a six-hole team scramble format. Students and PGA Coaches alike soaked it all in shot-by-shot, hole-by-hole.
It was a memorable week at Ardsley Country Club and, for many young leaders, just the beginning of something greater. Golf continues to resonate and act as a vehicle for something bigger than a simple game. The Junior One Hundred Challenge is proof of golf reaching far past the boundaries of city lines and neighborhoods – it’s a testament to what the game is doing for the next generation and beyond.
Images by Adam Hunger and Hayden Lewis, PGA.