Industry News

USGA extends longtime support of First Tee to strengthen diversity in the game

USGA IDEA grant program delivers $200K to First Tee chapters in support of inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility efforts

LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. and PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 20, 2021) – The United States Golf Association (USGA) has distributed $200,000 in grants across 20 First Tee chapters through the inaugural IDEA grant program – a dedicated effort to directly empower inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility efforts at the local golf level.

The program was created this year to address the barriers that underserved and underrepresented youths face in their potential introduction to and participation in golf and First Tee’s character-building programs. Specific funding initiatives include transportation for youths to get to and from First Tee program locations as well as recruitment and training of diverse staff and coaches.

“We have a commitment as an organization to be an impactful partner to those in the industry who share our vision for what we want golf’s future to look like,” said Mike Whan, CEO of the USGA. “Both the USGA and First Tee believe that golf is a better game now and in the future when it’s accessible and representative of everyone, and it starts at the junior level.”

“The USGA’s support is a game changer for youths in the communities that we serve,” said Greg McLaughlin, First Tee CEO. “With these grants, our chapters are opening the door to even more youth, especially in underserved and underrepresented communities, to explore the possibilities in golf and beyond as they build their character and life lessons through the game.”

Since 1997, the USGA has invested more than $33 million among First Tee, LPGA-USGA Girls Golf, and Drive, Chip & Putt programs in an effort to provide greater access to golf for juniors and cultivate a lifelong passion for the game. The commitment is part of a $1.3 million annual investment the organization makes in national programs that reach young people, fueled by revenue from the U.S. Open.

Grant applications were available to First Tee chapters located within the 14 markets where USGA championships took place in 2021 and where they are scheduled in 2022, as well as chapters affiliated with one of the association’s 59 Allied Golf Associations (AGAs). Located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, AGAs serve millions of golfers at the recreational level by increasing engagement and participation and improving the golfer experience.

The 2021 grant recipients include:

First Tee ChapterUSGA Championship Host Communities and Supporting USGA Allied Golf Associations
First Tee — San Diego2021 U.S. Open, Southern California Golf Association
First Tee — Sandhills2022 U.S. Women’s Open, Carolinas Golf Association
First Tee — Pittsburgh2021 U.S. Amateur, Western Pennsylvania Golf Association
First Tee — Greater PasadenaSouthern California Golf Association
First Tee — West Michigan2021 U.S. Senior Amateur, Golf Association of Michigan
First Tee — Washington, D.C.2021 U.S. Girls’ Junior, Maryland State Golf Association
First Tee — CincinnatiGreater Cincinnati Golf Association
First Tee — Greater Charleston (S.C.)Carolinas Golf Association
First Tee — West VirginiaWest Virginia Golf Association
First Tee — Upstate South CarolinaCarolinas Golf Association
First Tee — Silicon Valley2021 U.S. Women’s Open, Northern California Golf Association
First Tee — Metropolitan New York2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur, Metropolitan Golf Association
First Tee — LouisvilleKentucky Golf Association
First Tee — Greater Baltimore2021 U.S. Girls’ Junior, Maryland State Golf Association
First Tee — Central Carolina2022 U.S. Women’s Open, Carolinas Golf Association
First Tee — Greater PhiladelphiaGolf Association of Philadelphia  
First Tee — HawaiiHawaii State Golf Association  
First Tee — Coachella ValleySouthern California Golf Association
First Tee — Omaha2021 U.S. Senior Open, Nebraska Golf Association
First Tee — Connecticut2021 U.S. Senior Women’s Open, Connecticut State Golf Association

About the USGA
The USGA is a nonprofit organization that celebrates, serves and advances the game of golf. Founded in 1894, we conduct many of golf’s premier professional and amateur championships, including the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open. With The R&A, we govern the sport via a global set of playing, equipment, handicapping and amateur status rules. The USGA campus in Liberty Corner, New Jersey, is home to the Association’s Research and Test Center, where science and innovation are fueling a healthy and sustainable game for the future. The campus is also home to the USGA Golf Museum, where we honor the game by curating the world’s most comprehensive archive of golf artifacts. To learn more, visit

About PGA TOUR First Tee Foundation (“First Tee”)
First Tee ( is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit youth development organization that is supported by the PGA TOUR. Its mission is to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character and instill life-enhancing values through the game of golf. Since its inception in 1997, First Tee has expanded to reach more than 3.6 million young people annually through its chapter network, in schools and at youth centers. Headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, USA, programs are delivered in all 50 United States and select international locations. President George W. Bush serves as Honorary Chair.

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