BRASELTON, Ga. — Twenty-four of the nation’s brightest minds and junior golfers were named to the HP Scholastic Junior All-America Team, the American Junior Golf Association and HP announced Wednesday, Oct. 7. The 2009 team, sponsored for the 15th consecutive year by HP, consists of 12 young men and 12 young women who demonstrate the ability to excel both on the golf course and in the classroom.
To be eligible for the HP Scholastic Junior All-America Team, boys must have placed in the top 10 of an AJGA event, while girls needed a top-five finish. The selections were then based on grade point average, class rank, SAT/ACT scores, leadership skills, community service and writing ability. Candidates were required to submit an essay no longer than 500 words on an original topic relating to golf.
This year’s overall essay winner was Sam Bernstein of Riverdale, N.Y. The Ethical Culture Fieldston School, where Bernstein is enrolled as a senior, will receive a computer compliments of HP.
Five individuals were named to the HP Scholastic Junior All-America Team for the second straight year: Bonnie Hu of Fremont, Calif.; Rachel Morris of Carlsbad, Calif.; Shane Lebow of Santa Barbara, Calif.; Theodore Lederhausen of Hinsdale, Ill.; and Seiji Liu of Beverly Hills, Calif.
These outstanding individuals will be honored at the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet, Nov. 22, at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. By being named to this team, each player is also eligible to participate in the Polo Golf Junior Classic, one of the most prestigious events in junior golf, which will take place on PGA National Resort & Spa's Champion and Haig Courses, Nov. 21-27.
“HP is delighted once again to recognize academic excellence with the naming of the 2009 HP Scholastic Junior All-America Team,” said John Dayan, vice president of marketing, Personal Systems Group Americas, Hewlett Packard. “The AJGA works hard to prepare young adults for life after high school by instilling honor, perseverance and good sportsmanship. HP is proud to be associated with the AJGA and this great group of young adults."
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The largest Association of its kind, the AJGA has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of more than 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and more than 30 foreign countries.
Titleist, the AJGA’s National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association’s success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, which is in its third decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA’s second Premier Partner.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 200 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 350 wins. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Davis Love III, Cristie Kerr, Pat Hurst, Paula Creamer, Morgan Pressel and Julieta Granada.
For more information, please contact Chris Richards (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the AJGA Communications Department at (678) 425-1789.
ESSAY AWARD WINNER - "Herba" by Sam Bernstein of Riverdale, N.Y.
Still sweaty from the tournament, I nudge open the back door to the beach house and drop my golf shoes next to my grandfather’s old set of clubs. I smile, recollecting how eager he had been to show me the woods’ revolutionary sleek design and silver heads, now speckled with rust and at least a decade outmoded.
I make my way through the house and peer quietly into my grandfather’s bedroom. On a bulletin board, blanketed by family photos, a small Kodak print catches my eye: my first golf lesson. My grandfather, some seventy years old then, huddles over my two-year-old self. The moment springs to life in my memory – his weathered hands helping me swing the tiny yellow club, the first of countless hours my grandfather spent teaching me to play golf.
As always, my grandfather sits in his chair, his head sloped in deep slumber. Although age has worn his face and body, I know his smile will fill the room with warmth when I wake him in a few moments. A lovely middle-aged woman now lives in his home as his caretaker. Unable to function without her, he spends most of his day anchored to that chair, reading, watching the television in the bookcase across from him, taking his meals on a tray on his lap, and gazing at the putting green outside.
Directly across from my grandfather, a long side table holds a statue of a young man finishing his swing in perfect form. A plaque at the base reads: “Sam Bernstein - 2008 Long Island Junior Golf Champion.” I remember my final five-foot putt for victory on the 18th hole, wishing that my grandfather had been there to see it. Herba, as I have called him since I was a little boy, loves the game and he loves me unconditionally.
From my earliest years, Herba helped foster in me a passion for golf that has been a defining force in my life. Tom Friedman wrote in a recent column: “Golf is all about individual character…This wonderful but cruel game never stops testing or teaching you.” Herba was a far better teacher than player. He gave me the best piece of golf advice I have ever received. I call it “Herba’s Ten-Second Rule.” Bad shots are part of the game. If you get too emotionally high or low, you will never succeed. I give myself ten seconds after each shot to feel good or bad. But after those ten seconds, I move on. I continue to play the game – shot by shot.
I lower myself into the chair beside him. “Herba, it’s me, Sam,” I say as I kiss him gently on the cheek, and clasp his hand. He opens his eyes and nods slowly. “It’s so good to see you Sammy,” he says. “How was the tournament?”
“Do you want the recap shot by shot or hole by hole?” I ask him.
“The usual,” he replies. “Shot by shot…Always, shot by shot.”