USGA LPGA Expand Reach Of National Girls Golf Initiative


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The continuing mutual efforts of the Ladies Professional Golf Association and the United States Golf Association to develop new audiences and participants for the game of golf have expanded with the recent launch of LPGA-USGA Girls Golf, a developmental junior golf program for girls ages 7-17 and the only national initiative of its type. Funding for the program comes from the LPGA and USGA Foundations.
The program encourages girls to learn to play golf, build friendships and sample competition in a supportive and positive learning environment. Currently, more than 2,400 girls in 98 sites around the country participate in the forerunner to the new program, the LPGA Girls Golf Club. The girls are also enrolled as junior members of the USGA.
The LPGA is confident that the increased commitment and resources of the USGA will serve to grow and expand this program into new markets, said Ty M. Votaw, commissioner of the LPGA.
LPGA-USGA Girls Golf is a new expanded program modeled after the LPGA Girls Golf Club, which was established in Phoenix, Ariz., in 1989 by LPGA Teaching and Club Professional (T&CP) Division member Sandy LaBauve. The LPGA Girls Golf Club became a national initiative of the LPGA and The LPGA Foundation in 1994.
In 1997, the USGA and Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) became partners with the LPGA to support and further develop the LPGA Girls Golf Club. By working together, the LPGA, USGA and GSUSA made golf more accessible to girls and helped to promote a lifelong interest in the game.
Through LPGA-USGA Girls Golf, the USGA and the LPGA are seeking to increase the number of local, regional and national organizations bringing girls to the program, in addition to the Girl Scouts of the USA. Since 1994, the Girl Scouts have played an integral part in the growth of the program and will continue to be a playing partner in LPGA-USGA Girls Golf. Additional playing partners will be sought by working with other youth and girl-oriented organizations.
Our mission is to increase the number of girls participating in the game and to maintain an annual 50 percent rate of retention, said Judy Bell, consulting director of the USGA Foundation. We want a Girls Golf program anywhere in the United States where there is interest ' in rural, suburban and urban communities.
Most LPGA-USGA Girls Golf programs have year-round activities, with monthly meetings during the school year and once a week during the summer months. The teaching components and curriculum for golf are developed and implemented by the LPGA. The USGA has developed the materials for teaching golfs rules and the spirit of the game. The program is based on a progressive learning system on the golf course, starting from the green and moving back to the tee.
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