PGA WORKS Fellowship is one of the flagship programs of PGA REACH WNY. This fellowship aspires to be the most valuable entry-level employment opportunity for individuals from diverse backgrounds to garner experience in all facets of the golf industry.
The golf industry’s workforce, including PGA Membership, is demographically homogeneous. The boards, senior leadership and full-time staff are 95%, 97% and 86% Caucasian, respectively.
In 2019, PGA REACH WNY had the opportunity to hire their first PGA WORKS Fellow giving golf industry experience to an individual of a diverse background. The PGA WORKS Fellowship is a twelve-month paid position funded by PGA REACH. The goal of PGA WORKS is to help build a PGA Membership and golf industry that looks like modern-day America.
PGA REACH WNY Fellows:
Jacob Coles (2019)
Hope Warkoczeski (2020)
Mackenzie Culhane (2021)
Taylor Hunter (2022)
On November 22nd, the PGA REACH WNY Foundation held its 3rd Annual Charity Hockey Classic at the LECOM Harbor Center in Buffalo, NY. The event raised over $9,200 for the Special Olympics of New York (SONY) to help support the Special Olympics golf athletes in Western New York.
The Charity Hockey Classic was played by the PGA REACH WNY Team, consisting of WNYPGA Professionals, and the Kiefer Team, consisting of various amateur hockey players led by Matt Kiefer, one of the directors of the event. It was a close game throughout until the end when Team Kiefer was able to pull away and claim the Classic Victory 7-3. This is the first year that Team Kiefer has won the Charity Hockey Classic, with both previous games being won by the PGA REACH WNY Team. This is the 3rd year that the Charity Hockey Classic has been played and its first year being held at the LECOM Harbor Center. In the two previous years, the event has raised over $15,000 for the Special Olympics of New York golf programs. Every year the fundraiser has seen an increase in funds raised, with $7,300 in 2017, $7,800 in 2018 and with an event high, $9,264 this year.
The Charity Hockey Classic was started in 2017 to help support the SONY golf programs in the Western New York area. Over the past two years, over 29 new athletes have been able to participate in SONY golf programs due to the funds raised at the Charity Hockey Classic. Over the next few years, the WNYPGA is looking to raise money to create a new indoor facility for various PGA REACH WNY Foundation programs, including helping to establish a new home for our local Special Olympics athletes.
This event is so successful because of the continuing support it receives from the WNYPGA community and its volunteers. So, we would like to say thank you to all of our volunteers from the night’s event and to our WNYPGA Professionals who raised funds through ticket sales and volunteered to play in this year’s Charity Hockey Classic. With the support of the WNYPGA, the Charity Hockey Classic looks to continue and increase its impact on SONY and its athletes for years to come.
Since 2017, we have had the privilege of working with the Special Olympics New York (SONY) organization to help share the game of golf to their athletes. We have held annual Charity Hockey games, which have raised over $25,000 for the SONY Golf Program. In 2020, Glen Oak Golf Course announced a partnership with SONY to become the official training center for the Erie Golf Club, providing use of the course, equipment and PGA-certified coaches for the program. Starting September 16th, the Erie Golf Club began their training at Glen Oak GC to prepare for the next golf season.
“On behalf of our 300 PGA professionals in the Western New York Section PGA, we are so proud to be able to announce the expansion of our partnership with Special Olympics New York’s Western Region in 2020,” said Bartkowski. “Through the Charity Hockey Classic we have been able to raise close to $25,000 for their golf program over the past three years, and this just feels like the right next step in making a long term significant impact. To host their training program at our new PGA Section Homesite with instruction from our PGA professional certified coaches fits directly in line with our mission of positively impacting lives through the game of golf. With access being a major barrier for golf, we will now be able to provide that to these athletes.”
Learn more about Special Olympics New York HERE
Learn more about Special Olympics New York – Western Region HERE