PGA Junior League is the flagship youth pillar program of PGA REACH WNY, with the goal of making the program accessible to all interested kids in the United States and around the world. With more than 42,000 golfers representing 3,400 teams in 47 states throughout the United States, participation in Junior League continues to increase each season.
Through the PGA Jr. League, girls and boys ages 13 and under learn and enjoy the game with instruction and direction from PGA and LPGA Professionals. Players wear numbered jerseys and compete on teams with their friends in a popular two-person scramble format that reinforces the team concept and creates a nurturing environment for learning the game.
In Western New York, the 2018 season saw 456 athletes under the age of 13 competing on 33 teams. Participation was up 21.6% from the 2017 season. The Section also hosted the first ever Section Junior League Championship at Glen Oak Golf Course for 8 of the top teams (80 juniors).
The JC Martin Project – The WNYPGA Foundation and Head PGA Professional Michael O’Connor worked with the Erie Community Foundation and the City of Erie to renovate the J.C. Martin Family Golf Center. In just the second year of existence, the WNYPGA Foundation was proud and honored to take part in a project such as this that impacts the lives of golfers throughout an entire community. The total project costed $500,000 and today is host to many initiatives such as Drive, Chip & Putt and PGA Junior League Golf which allow kids access to the game of golf in Erie, PA.
“J.C. Martin is an important part of the Erie community. It has provided a place for young people to not only learn the game of golf, but to have a constructive summer pastime and develop friendships for life.”
-Joseph Sinnot, City of Erie Mayor
“The golf course looks absolutely tremendous,” Mike Martin said. “It’s been a very playable golf course. I remember coming up here as a kid and teeing off on rubber mats. It really is a tremendous complex for the community today. ”
In 2018 the project took a break from renovations but plans to make another splash with forward tees throughout the entire course to help make it even more playable for juniors in 2019.
Led by PGA Professional, Mike D’Agostino, the PGA REACH Foundation embarked on a new initiative called Smiling FORE Life. The Western New York Section is just the second in the country to conduct this program in which we anticipate making a huge significance to numerous children for years to come.
In just the first week of inception, PGA Professionals in Rochester taught with SNAG equipment to approximately eight kids of all different ages. In particular, there was a 15-year-old young man that plays golf for his high school team and was recently diagnosed with cancer. Just seeing the joy on his parent’s face as PGA Professionals took the time to visit him made the day well worth the trip.
The Rochester Clinic will include three more sessions this fall at the Galisano Hospital, and then the Foundation hopes to roll out the same idea in Buffalo at the Oshei Children’s Hospital this winter.
PGA Family Cup – The new program encourages families to play golf together as a team. Similar in its format to PGA Junior League, the program strengths friendships and builds communities on the golf course. PGA Family Cup helps to get families off the cart path and into the fairway. During a time when safety is a great concern when interacting in a team setting, PGA Family Cup ensures the family is the team and creates a safe environment.
You can learn more about PGA Family Cup at pgafamilycup.com