US and China open golf up to children


Sean Dudley

More young people across the US and China will have the opportunity to play golf thanks to the Sticks for Kids programme.

The programme, sponsored by the Golf Course Builders Association of America (GCBAA) foundation, hopes to reach a record number of children in 2010. One hundred programmes will be added in the US during the year, bringing the total number to 508 programmes in all 50 states and ten military bases.

The recently created China programme, in partnership with Forward Management Group, an international GCBAA member, will expand by another 30 programmes, bringing the total to 120 in 30 cities.

“The Sticks for Kids programme is continuing to grow at an astonishing rate,” said Bill Kubly, Foundation president. “We are reaching out to a record number of young people that otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to learn the game of golf. The growth that we’ve seen in the United States and especially China shows the strength and versatility of the program. Not only are the Sticks for Kids programmes beneficial for the young people who participate, but they also help the communities involved as well as the sport.”

Sticks for Kids is designed to provide golf instruction to children aged six to 15. It provides children with the opportunity to learn golf basics such as stance, gripping, pitching, chipping, putting and swinging as well as golf safety, etiquette, integrity and discipline. Children also learn to be environmental stewards through GCBAA’s partnership with Project EverGreen and Audubon International.

Paul Foley, GCBAA executive director, said he anticipates that the programme will grow to a minimum of 100 locations a year thanks to a partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association. Each hosting programme receives ten sets of donated golf clubs for the children to use on site.