Patrick Cover of Huntersville, N.C., has been named a recipient of the 2013 USGA-AJGA Presidents’ Leadership Award, the United States Golf Association and American Junior Golf Association announced Tuesday.
The USGA-AJGA Presidents’ Leadership Award was created to recognize one boy and one girl junior golfer who demonstrate leadership, character and community service through their involvement with the Leadership Links program – a joint initiative founded by the USGA and AJGA in 2005 to further develop junior golfers through volunteerism.
Cover and girls recipient Divya Manthena of Camarillo, Calif., will be honored and formally presented the award July 10 in Lancaster, Pa., during the Rolex Tournament of Champions. Additionally, they will each receive tickets to a future U.S. Open and an automatic entry into the 2013 Rolex Tournament of Champions, one of the world’s most prestigious junior golf events.
“It has been said many times that golf is a game of a lifetime,” Cover said. “Golf has changed my life, and the changes will certainly stay with me a lifetime.”
In 2010, Cover and his friend and fellow AJGA player Thomas Walsh founded the Dormie Cup, a golf tournament to benefit local and national charities. They found 22 other junior golfers to join them in a two-man, match-play tournament, and challenged each player to raise $1,500 for charity.
They exceeded their goal in 2012, with 22 golfers raising more than $46,000 for the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, The First Tee of the Sandhills, and the AJGA’s ACE Grant, which gives golf opportunities to talented players who lack financial resources to play in national level junior tournaments.
In the three years of the Dormie Cup, Cover has spent countless hours meeting with club officials, communicating with golfers and raising funds for the event. Cover has personally raised more than $9,500 through face-to-face meetings, personal letters and emails to prospective donors.
“Last year, Noah Spivey, a 15-year-old fighting cancer, came and shared his story at the Dormie Cup,” Cover said. “He wanted to be a golfer, but couldn’t do that because of his disease. It’s amazing for us to be able to take our talents and put it towards benefiting people like him.”
In addition to his work with the Dormie Cup, Cover is involved with several other charities in the Charlotte area.
“I know that I’m very fortunate to have everything I’m given,” said Cover. “[Volunteering] has taught me to appreciate what I have, and every time I do it, I want to do it again.”
Over the last two years, Cover has spearheaded a “jeans drive” at his high school that asks students to donate their unwanted jeans to homeless teens in the Charlotte area. Cover made signs and marketing materials for the event and has helped collect more than 200 pairs.
Another project is the Charlotte Urban Ministry Center, a homeless shelter. Over Easter weekend in 2012, Cover made more than 120 sandwiches to deliver to hungry families.
Samaritan’s Feet is an organization that provides shoes for children in Africa who have never worn a pair of shoes. Cover collected 70 pairs of boots and shoes from friends and family in 2012 for the organization.
Cover continues to expand his charitable efforts. The 2013 Dormie Cup is currently in the planning stages, and Cover hopes to organize a charity golf tournament which involves the PGA Tour.
Cover believes that golf is more than just a game or a favorite sport, it’s an opportunity to have an impact on many lives.
“Joining forces with my friends and raising money for these charities feels like the biggest golf accomplishment I have ever earned,” Cover said.
USGA-AJGA Presidents’ Leadership Award – Past Recipients
2012 Brandon Pierce (Covington, La.)
Cassie Wang (Lenexa, Kan.)
2011 John Farese (Sayville, N.Y.)
Natalie Turk (Franklin, Tenn.)
2010 Drew Johnson (Oak Ridge, N.C.)
Jacqueline Calamaro (Newtown Square, Pa.)
2009 Zach Herr (New Hope, Pa.)
Emily Gimpel (Lafayette Hill, Pa.)
2008 Smylie Kaufman (Birmingham, Ala.)
Kelsey Conway (Ventura, Calif.)
2007 Joseph Suarez (Richmond, Va.)
Angela Villela (Sylmar, Calif.)
2006 Adam Michel (Orinda, Calif.)
Katrina Delen-Briones (San Francisco, Calif.)