– USGA awards IDEA grants to 27 First Tee chapters across America
– IDEA grants focus on diversity, inclusion, and accessibility in golf
– The funding aims to extend the club-in-hand experiences for juniors from all backgrounds
In a fresh move to foster diversity and enhance accessibility in golf, the United States Golf Association (USGA) has recently distributed its latest cycle of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) grants. A total of 27 First Tee chapters established across America have become the recipients of these grants, reaffirming USGA’s steadfast dedication to making golf an increasingly friendly and accessible sport for all.
The IDEA grants are designed to support diverse communities, from urban markets to mountainous regions and major Hispanic clusters. Moreover, they target low-income families nationwide, striving to equalize opportunities for junior players who long for a hands-on golfing experience and the associated character-building lessons.
These 27 chosen chapters are slated to receive up to $15,000 each in 2023, enabling them to cater for transportation costs, appoint diverse coaches, offer comprehensive training to volunteers, and design programs in diverse communities. In total, the USGA has made a grant funding commitment of $200,000 as a way of strengthening grassroots initiatives that facilitate golf accessibility.
According to Mike Whan, CEO at the USGA, stoking diversity and inclusion at the junior level remains a top priority. He further emphasized their fervent efforts to interact with the youth within their schools and communities, offering them as many accessible pathways into golf as possible.
Some of the projects that will be supported by the IDEA grants include:
– The First Tee – Central Carolina will extend its programming to be year-round, introducing ‘Golf and Grades’, an after-school initiative combining golf and academic tutoring.
– First Tee – Greater Tallahassee, Florida plans to upscale its outreach in Title 1 schools in low-income communities with equipment provision and teacher training.
– First Tee – Phoenix, in association with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, seeks to engage the local Latinx youth through a series of outreach initiatives.
Since its establishment in 2021, the USGA IDEA Grant program has expanded its influence, granting up to 72 grants to 46 chapters across 30 states, and bringing a diverse array of young players closer to golf and First Tee’s character-shaping programs.
The USGA is hopeful that initiatives like the IDEA grants will catalyze a significant growth in the number of diverse young players getting involved in golf, echoing the rising trend witnessed in 2022 when 3.4 million juniors played on a golf course – a figure not seen since 2006.
Reinforcing the value of these grants, a recent report from First Tee and Harris Poll accentuated the role of sports like golf in fostering character development among underserved youth populations. A staggering 76% of parents in the survey found golf a beneficial tool in teaching life skills and instilling character in their children.