Local First Tee named Golf Coalition grant recipient

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The First Tee of North Florida in St. Augustine will be one of 81 grassroots golf organizations to receive a total of $750,000 in funding to further their efforts to engage underrepresented populations of the sport.

These groups are being awarded with a grant through the new Make Golf Your Thing initiative, the industry’s commitment to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in making the sport more welcome for all.

Initially introduced in 2021, the grant program to date has provided 155 grants to 110 unique grassroots organizations, totaling more than $1 million overall.

The funding has been evident with 43 grants totaling $150,000 in May 2021 and another 31 grants totaling $150,000 handed out in Jan. 2022.

The program was established to support organizations dedicated to increasing participation among golf’s underrepresented populations, such as, black, Latinx, Asian, indigenous communities, as well as women, LGBTQI+ individuals, veterans, and individuals with disabilities.

“When the game comes together and pools every resource to grow and broaden the reach of the game, only great things can happen,” said Mike Whan, CEO of the USGA and executive sponsor of the youth and adult player development work group for Make Golf Your Thing. “This unifying movement is helping to make a difference in communities across America and advance the game in ways none of us can do alone.”

The grant program is part of the industry’s broader commitment to making the sport more inclusive for all.

Last month, a new Make Golf Your Thing search directory was launched for consumers, consisting of more than 8,400 registered golf programs and organizations across the U.S.

The directory allows individuals to search for programs and events using filters such as location, age, ability, gender, etc., giving new and diverse audiences an opportunity to become more engaged in the sport through programs in their own community.

“Access to golf in a business context is a pathway to opportunity,” said Anna Alvarez Boyd, co-founder of FairWays to Leadership, one of the 81 grant recipients. “Our group’s mission is to increase diversity in business and in golf by teaching college students from diverse backgrounds the skills they need to become effective leaders. The financial commitment of the grant program to organizations like ours will only further golf’s collective efforts to bring new and diverse audiences into our sport.”  

Formally launched in May 2021, Make Golf Your Thing is led by six cross-industry work groups. The initiative is specifically focused on: education and skill development, talent acquisition, procurement, human resources, youth and adult player development and marketing/communications.

Funding for the grant program is being administered by the American Golf Industry Coalition, a partnership among golf’s leading organizations to promote and advocate for the collective interests of the sport.

The Coalition unites the golf industry in pursuit of goals designed to enhance the vitality and diversity at both the business and recreational levels. It is a division of the World Golf Foundation.

Financial support for the program is led by a contingent of industry supporters committed to making the sport more welcoming and inclusive for all.

As a multi-faceted, multi-year movement, Make Golf Your Thing is a collaborative effort across the industry. For more info go to www.makegolfyourthing.org.

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