the AJGA Work
and Carol Haws present a junior with an award
at the Fore!Kids Junior at TPC of Louisiana.
successful recipe for a birdie. A nice tee shot
out to the fairway, a graceful pitch on to the
green and a slow rolling putt in to the hole.
it could symbolize more. Out, on and in could
stand to describe the AJGA fairly well.
alumni such as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and
Grace Park, it should be no surprise to the average
onlooker to observe what comes out of
elite junior golfers and professional staff members
at each event, it should be no surprise to the
average onlooker to observe what goes on
at the AJGA.
what may surprise that average onlooker is the
notion of what must be put in before
an AJGA tournament can be pulled off.
takes place when the AJGA sets up shop, the Greatest
Gig on Grass, is not the result of hard work by
a select few, but rather the confluence of tremendous
efforts by many.
daily is a full-time staff of 47 young and energetic
people devoted to carrying out the AJGA’s
mission of remaining dedicated to the overall
growth and development of young men and women
who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through
competitive junior golf. Behind them stands the
AJGA’s Board of Directors, 15 elected individuals
with experience and connections in the golf industry
and the business community.
stepping back further provides an even better
glimpse at what truly buttresses the AJGA and
its ability to fulfill its mission statement.
Corporate and individual sponsors. Volunteer tournament
The ball starts rolling at the efforts of the
local tournament chairman. For each of the AJGA’s
72 tournaments, a talented and dedicated volunteer
plays the role of on-site contact by pulling strings,
making deals, recruiting other committee members
and preparing year-round for the event.
individuals firmly rooted in the communities that
host AJGA events, tournament chairmen serve as
the eyes and ears of the AJGA on a year-round
basis. With the ability to focus on just one tournament
and utilize local know-how and connections, tournament
chairmen can easily achieve more success in areas
such as fundraising, volunteer recruiting, publicity
and upgrades to that event’s AJGA experience.
Without the aid and leadership of these folks,
the AJGA staff would be forced to accomplish everything
for a number of tournaments—which would
only lead to a lower level of quality.
chairmen can do so much for us,” said Jason
Etzen, AJGA executive vice president of development.
“They are so well connected in their local
areas that they are able to accomplish things
that we, as a staff, couldn’t get done working
out of Atlanta.”
year at the tournament cookout for the AJGA’s
annual event in New Orleans, longtime tournament
chairman Bill Haws organizes a Creole style feast
with all the authentic Bayou food any junior golfer
could ever desire. This year’s Fore!Kids
Junior at TPC of Lousiana was no exception.
Chairman Mark Brazil (right of champion Brian
Harman) works to make sure his tournament
has the feel of a PGA TOUR event, including
a large media presence.
newly minted FootJoy Boys Invitational is about
as close as a junior golfer can come to experiencing
the feel of a PGA TOUR event without actually
teeing it up against the world’s best professionals.
Tournament chairman Mark Brazil has spearheaded
this effort to drive the caliber of the FootJoy
Boys Invitational higher and higher. Brazil, who
was an AJGA staff member from 1993-2001, is also
the tournament director for the PGA TOUR’s
Chrysler Classic of Greensboro.
the perks offered to juniors who play in the tournament
are Titleist ProV1 range balls, an abundance of
media coverage and the opportunity to play a PGA
TOUR course at roughly the same yardage as the
pros. A clinic for youngsters looking to pick
up the game is run with help from tournament participants.
sponsor Chrysler provided courtesy cars to be
displayed on the golf course throughout the tournament
week, adding yet another special touch to the
event. And this year, FootJoy’s spokesman
and “buddy” of PGA TOUR professionals,
SignBoy, was on hand to offer encouragement and
chum it up with golf’s next generation.
tournament chairman Toni Clark of Orange County,
Calif., led the charge in the AJGA pulling off
one of the more memorable events of the year.
In addition to a celebrity junior-am, the Family
Toyota/Family Honda Junior presented by Cox Media
featured a concert by a local punk rock band to
entertain the tournament field after round one.
Additionally, juniors and families enjoyed a staple
of California fast-food cuisine at the cookout
as In-N-Out provided the meal. Double-doubles
live band performs after Round 1 at the Family
Toyota/Family Honda Junior presented by Cox
is through the unparalleled efforts of individuals
like Haws, Brazil and Clark that each AJGA tournament
takes on a personality of its own to give every
participant a unique memory while maintaining
the high level of excellence that permeates the
AJGA brand and the AJGA experience.
As evidenced by the extraordinary efforts of these
volunteers, an AJGA tournament can become quite
bells and whistles abound. From complimentary
Titleist ProV1 golf balls and Polo Golf shirts
for each participant to food and beverage provided
for players and families at each tournament to
outstanding tournament gifts, the benefits can
sometimes seem endless. But all those perks don’t
simply materialize—they are a direct result
of the generosity of the AJGA’s sponsors.
stated, sponsors make it all possible.
has shown the value of an AJGA playing opportunity
to be roughly $950 when all services and items
are included. Yet the tournament entry fee for
an AJGA Open event remains $200.
is through the efforts of AJGA corporate and individual
sponsors that participation in an AJGA event can
become so valuable while the cost to participants
can stay so affordable.
donations and financial contributions play a major
role in sponsors’ involvement by enabling
the AJGA to focus that money towards improving
the tournament experience for members.
tremendous component of the recipe for success
of an AJGA event is the facility and its cost—or
lack thereof. In order to maintain the ability
to focus the available financial resources toward
improving the tournament and a junior golfer’s
experience there, a donated golf course is essentially
a necessity. If 90 percent of a tournament’s
budget were dedicated to paying golf course fees,
not nearly enough money would be left for all
those bells and whistles that have become synonymous
with AJGA tournaments.
No organization can stage a golf tournament of
any kind, let alone a first-class tournament for
the best golfers the nation has to offer, without
a first-class facility. The key cog in the AJGA’s
ability to consistently provide memorable tournament
experiences to its membership and exposure to
college coaches is the chance to stage events
at some of the finest golf courses across America.
the years, juniors from the AJGA have walked some
of the finest fairways and putted on some of the
greatest greens in the world. This year saw the
AJGA make stops at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill
Club & Lodge, Grayhawk Golf Club, Caves Valley
Golf Club, The Country Club at Mirasol and The
Apawamis Club—to name just a few.
Aside from the shot in the arm that golf’s
next generation gets by playing in AJGA tournaments,
the communities that host the events also benefit
in many ways.
obviously, the economic impact is paramount. AJGA
tournaments provide an average of about $150,000
in direct and secondary spending in the local
economy at each of its 72 events. Travel costs
of tournament participants and AJGA administrative
costs are included.
perhaps as important as the financial boost are
the camaraderie and fellowship that often develop
among the Association, its sponsors and local
helicopter drops golf balls onto a target
as part of a fundraising raffle during the
Ringgold Telephone Company Junior.
city of Ringgold, Ga., located near the Alabama-Georgia-Tennessee
tri-state area, is a prime example of the positive
impact a town of any size can experience.
just two short years, the Ringgold Telephone Company
Junior has become one of the most spirited events
on the AJGA schedule. Community involvement has
ranged from thousands of hours of volunteer work
to thousands of dollars in support and charitable
of us working together put Ringgold on the map,”
said Phil Erli, executive vice president of Ringgold
Telephone Company. “One of the major focuses
was to show what a great community this is.”
key component in the formula for Ringgold’s
success is the Ringgold Telephone Company’s
positive reputation in Catoosa County. The satisfaction
that so many in the community have with the group
spurs them to become involved and support anything
that the Ringgold Telephone Company supports.
Ringgold Telephone Company does so much for all
of Ringgold that everybody sees them being involved
and wants to help as well,” said AJGA Tournament
Director Ben Kimball, who ran the event this year.
“From there, it’s a snowball effect.”
2003 AJGA tournament was even voted the best event
held in Ringgold by readers of the local newspaper.
of the longest-running events on the AJGA slate
also illustrates what can become when the surrounding
residents rally behind the event and the mission
of the AJGA. The Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass
Junior is hosted at Bellefonte Country Club by
the city of Ashland in northeastern Kentucky.
First held in 1981, the tournament has always
received outstanding support in the form of community
biggest factor in Ashland’s ability to attract
support is the beneficiary of its charitable efforts.
from the tournament and its fundraising efforts
go to golf teams from local high schools. The
fact that the local media helps promote this only
improves the tournament committee’s fundraising
title sponsor Natural Resource Partners being
a local company in the Ashland area, the relationship
between the AJGA and NRP becomes more beneficial
to all involved, including the community.
president and chief operating officer) Nick Carter
has been asked a lot about the AJGA,” said
tournament chairman Mary Jo Thompson. “And
he loves to talk about the AJGA because he loves
the Association. It’s really beneficial
for them to be a sponsor because they are local.
It’s good to have a sponsor who cares about
the youth, especially the youth in our community.”
Giving back to the community
The recently completed AJGA summer season boasts
a number of prime examples of unique ways the
tournaments have begun giving back to their local
Dunlop Carolina Junior, held in Greenville, S.C.,
staged a local junior golfer luncheon to provide
an up-close-and-personal opportunity for children
in the area to observe the talent and dedication
needed to succeed in golf on the national level.
YMCA youth from Greenville, S.C., watch tournament
participants tee off at the Dunlop Carolina
of local youths from the Greenville YMCA attended
the event, providing an enormous gallery and cheering
section. Upon arrival, the well-behaved youngsters
gathered around the first tee to watch the leaders
tee off in the final round. The gallery then moved
to No. 18 where it created a professional tournament
atmosphere. The day concluded with a luncheon
for the kids from the Greenville YMCA.
was one of the most rewarding things I’ve
ever done from a fun standpoint,” said Marshall
Bettendorf, tournament chairman for the event.
“The reason this was so much fun was that
it jolted the juniors and their parents to a new
year’s Fidelity Investments Junior Classic
saw AJGA staff members participate in a job-shadowing
program coordinated by tournament sponsor Fidelity
Investments and Citizens Schools. Underprivileged
teenagers from the Boston area attended the event
and worked side-by-side with the AJGA staff to
glean experience and knowledge of the golf industry.
the AJGA, Citizen Schools is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit
organization. A national network of schools, community
organizations and businesses, Citizen Schools
connects middle school students with trained,
experienced teachers and adult professional volunteers.
AJGA experience for the program’s participants
involved two days of golf industry instruction
prior to the AJGA event where they were trained
on their assigned duties for the tournament. During
the tournament week, the teenagers were assigned
many regular tasks usually completed by an AJGA
staff member such as starting groups, marking
the golf course, running pace of play timing stations
was proud to be able to allow the kids an opportunity
to learn some things they may never have otherwise
seen,” said AJGA tournament director Brian
Gaydica. “On top of the positive experience
for them, it was helpful having a few extra hands
on deck to pitch in with all the tournament work.”
Investments, the tournament’s sponsor, echoes
the AJGA’s satisfaction with the program.
are pleased to support these students and look
forward to seeing them excel through their apprenticeships,“
said Jennifer K. Brown, executive vice president
of communication services for Fidelity Investments.
opportunities exist for tournament sponsorship
in 2005. Interested individuals should contact
Jason Etzen, the AJGA’s executive vice president
of development, by e-mail at email@example.com
or by phone at (877)373-AJGA.