The Grow the Game Award recognizes the positive impact and efforts made to grow the game of golf in Virginia
RICHMOND, Va. (Jan. 15, 2022) – Belmont Golf Course has been selected as the recipient of the Virginia State Golf Association’s (VSGA) Grow the Game Award, the organization announced on Saturday. The VSGA made the announcement during its annual meeting, held at Willow Oaks Country Club.
The Grow the Game Award recognizes the positive impact and efforts made to grow the game of golf in Virginia, with the VSGA recognizing First Tee – Greater Richmond for its work in renovating, restoring and reimagining Belmont golf course in Henrico County. Belmont is the first organization to receive the accolade in the five years of the award.
“We are thrilled to be named the recipient of this year’s VSGA Grow the Game Award,” First Tee – Greater Richmond CEO Brent Schneider said. “The transformation and renovation of Belmont has been a true team effort and First Tee - Greater Richmond is proud to be the stewards of such a special place. We look forward to the future and know the new Belmont will help deliver on our vision to strengthen the character of our community.”
After being selected to operate the property via Henrico County’s RFP process in 2019, First Tee – Greater Richmond, in partnership with Love Golf Design, embarked on an ambitious reimagination of World Golf Hall of Fame architect A.W. Tillinghast’s 1917 design.
With the help of lead architect Scot Sherman, the project converted the 18-hole course into a championship 12 holes, restoring Tillinghast’s vision and bringing back 10 of 12 original green complexes; created a six-hole par-3 course featuring Tillinghast template holes; an 18-hole putting course that measures the largest in the state, checking in at over 34,000-square feet; and a full practice facility that allows Belmont to host First Tee camps, programs and clinics, while also allowing the public to utilize both driving and short game ranges.
Belmont reopened to the public on May 29, 2021, with the property seeing over 24,000 rounds played in just seven months. Furthermore, over 400 area youth attended First Tee – Greater Richmond’s evidence-based camps, programs and clinics in the summer and fall.
Belmont remains the only golf course in Virginia that has hosted a men’s major championship and one of only two Tillinghast courses nationwide that has hosted a major and is currently open for public play — the other being Bethpage Black in New York.
The course has been touched by several World Golf Hall of Fame members, including Tillinghast, Donald Ross (1921), Ben Hogan (1945 Richmond Invitational), Gene Sarazen and Sam Snead (1949 PGA Championship); and Davis Love III (2020-21).
About First Tee – Greater Richmond
First Tee – Greater Richmond is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit youth development organization whose mission is to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf. Through three major programming areas, the First Tee Life Skills Experience, the First Tee School Program, and collaborative community partnerships, First Tee – Greater Richmond reached more than 71,000 youth in 2019.
Bill Potter, Director of Marketing