Monday, July 31, 2017

Jordan Spieth: A Win for Junior Golf

Just shy of his 24th birthday, Jordan Spieth became the youngest American to with The Open.

His impressive comeback from a rough start in Birkdale on July 23 earned him his third leg of the Grand Slam. He’s just one tournament shy of winning all four major golf championships—the Masters Tournament, the U.S. Open, the Open Championship, and the PGA Championship.

Spieth’s golf career began at 12 years old, and he quickly became a skilled player. Winning two U.S. Junior Amateur Championships, he is only the second person to do so (joined by Tiger Woods). 12 years later and five years after becoming professional, he is ranked second in the Official World Golf Rankings.

Talk about dreams coming true. 

Despite his growing list of accomplishments, Spieth remains dedicated to putting others’ dreams before his own. The Jordan Spieth Family Foundation serves special needs youth, veterans, military families and the junior golf community.

As Spieth began to rise through the ranks of junior golf, his younger sister was diagnosed with a neurological disorder.

“Because of Ellie, it has always been a priority to me to be in tune to the needs of others,” he said in a quote on his website. 

JSFF’s mission is to spread awareness and provide financial assistance to a growing number of organizations, including Camp Seek, Special Olympics, Boys and Girls Club, The First Tee, Wounded Warrior Project and Caddy for a Cure.

Others in the sports industry have attested to Spieth’s ability to balance his competitiveness with upstanding character.

“Jordan possesses rare competitive greatness that he somehow shuts off when the setting calls for it. And his graciousness toward others is genuine and real. He is the standard by which our heroes should be measured,” wrote Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys quarterback, for Spieth’s TIME 100 feature.

Spieth’s character speaks volumes, and makes him an outstanding role model for our students at Gator Junior Golf.

“A cornerstone to the Gator Junior Golf Association is Character Development,” said Sean Warner, Gator Junior Golf executive director. “Jordan Spieth is a natural leader, because he's genuine. That's all you have to do in life—be genuine”

Gator Junior Golf is a non-profit youth development organization that uses the game of golf to help children succeed both on and off the golf course. Golf helps our students build character and strives to teach them a healthy balance between competition and compassion.

“Life is about having meaning behind your actions,” Warner said.

Those goals are apparent not just in our teaching styles, but also our partnerships. Gator Junior Golf recently welcomed Tower Hill Insurance as a partner because of their dedication to serving.

Their slogan—For whatever tomorrow brings, your dreams are safe with us—aligns with our organization’s sole purpose of serving the youth of Gainesville. Gator Junior Golf exists to help our students excel beyond their wildest dreams, just as Jordan Spieth did.

Author: Katie Campione

Saturday, April 15, 2017

A Persevering Champion

After 17 years as a professional golfer, Sergio Garcia is a Masters Champion.

    This is the first time he’s won one of the four major golf championships, which include the Masters Tournament, the U.S. Open, the Open Championship, and the PGA Championship.

    The 37-year-old plays in both the PGA Tour and the European Tour, and has won 31 international tournaments as a professional. He has been in the Official World Golf Rankings top 10 for more than a decade, according to his website.

    Off the course, he has dedicated himself to making golf accessible to players of all ability-levels and backgrounds. In 2002, he founded the Sergio Foundation to promote, develop and fund golf clinics for disabled youth throughout Spain.

    Garcia recently partners with the American Junior Golf Association for the first Sergio Garcia Foundation Junior Championship, which will be held May 6-8 in Winter Garden, Florida.

    Since 2014, Garcia has also been the honorary chairman of the Junior PLAYERS Championship.

    In 2015, Garcia was featured in a commercial for The First Tee, titled “Better People.” As a player, he strives to instill values of perseverance and upstanding character in the young golfers he influences.

    After spitting into the hole during a third round of the CA Championship in 2007, many questioned his character and influence on the youth he wanted to impact. His past character flaws show that people can learn and change their behaviors to have better outcomes.

    This reversal of character, along with the dedication and hard work that resulted in his 2017 Masters win, make Garcia a great role model for our Gator Junior Golfers. He has continuously worked to make golf accessible and teach young people valuable life lessons through the sport, which align with the missions of Gator Junior Golf.

“That's a big thing for me,” said executive director Sean Warner. “We've got to reduce the barriers to entry for the sport to truly be inclusive of all demographics. This includes access to equipment, ability to play and practice outside of class, and reduce the financial burdens for parents to play golf with their kids.”

    Gator Junior Golf is a non-profit youth development organization that uses the game of golf to help children succeed both on and off the golf course. Golf helps our students build character and teaches them the values that bridges success on the course into other walks of life.

    We currently partner with a local McDonald's to provide 28 students with scholarships for our program, totaling $1,500. In addition to these scholarships, we want to expand our fundraising infrastructure to accommodate more students and better serve the students we already have.

    Within the next year, Gator Junior Golf is opening an after-school day at Ironwood Golf Course to accommodate our students in east Gainesville. The long term goal is to have exclusive practice facilities for our students at golf courses in Gainesville so that we can provide the best learning environment possible.

    “If we want to make the golf course a home for these kids, we've got to give them a roof first,” Warner said.

Author: Katie Campione

Tags: Junior Golf Lessons in Gainesville, Florida