Golf Digest editors picks
2013 Junior Development Awards

Better With Age

Golf Digest honors five youth programs

Junior Development Awards
This year's winners are not new to golf. Many were around in 1984 when Golf Digest gave its first junior development awards. They have remained dedicated to young golfers. In doing so, they join the list of clubs, individuals, municipalities, associations and corporations honored for bringing kids into the game.

Bellefonte Country Club in Ashland, Ky


Bellefonte Country Club

Bellefonte Country Club in Ashland, Ky., winner in the club category, is a Willie Park Jr., design dating from 1921. For the 30th consecutive year, the club hosted the Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior this June. The entire community helps out, several locals taking their annual vacation to volunteer. Funds raised go to the community high school golf program, Yancey Scholarship fund and the Eastern Kentucky Junior Golf Association.

Individual winner, Jack Nicklaus


Jack Nicklaus

Individual winner, Jack Nicklaus, is a longtime advocate for junior golf. A National trustee of The First Tee, he went before Congress in 2004 to promote its merits. He and his wife, Barbara, established a junior golf endowment fund that supports national and local youth programs. Most recently, he teamed with SNAG Golf to organize the Jack Nicklaus Learning Leagues. Pilot programs opened this spring in Columbus, Ohio, New York, Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles. The plan is for 100 Parks and Recreation facilities to offer the program this year with an additional 300 scheduled for 2014. The JNLL, patterned after soccer and baseball leagues, will attempt to get kids interested in golf before they're committed to other sports.

Encanto Municipal



Phoenix, the municipality recognized this year, has been encouraging young golfers at its public courses since the 1930's when Encanto Municipal opened. Since those early days, opportunities for kids have increased in scope and sophistication. Eleven venues, Papago and Aguila among them, offer low cost instruction for beginners. Through The First Tee's National School Program, free golf is available at 160 elementary schools in the city, reaching some 90,000 students annually.

Association winner: Northern Texas PGA Junior Golf Foundation


Northern Texas PGA Junior Golf Foundation

Association winner, Northern Texas PGA Junior Golf Foundation, founded in 1983, offers an array of programs ranging from clinics for kids holding a club for the first time to a tour for elite players. Team Golf, a developmental program, allows kids to move from one level of play to the next. In Kids Play Fore Kids, local juniors raise money for kids in need. The foundation reaches 10,000 kids each year.
Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation


Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation

Winner in the corporation category is the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, dedicated to child-oriented programs that help young people and their families live better. Home Depot co-founder, Arthur Blank, made his initial contribution to The First Tee of Atlanta in 1999 with a gift of $25,000. He is currently a First Tee National Trustee. PGA Superstore, a Blank enterprise, supports First Tee chapters in the communities where they are located. Local stores provide equipment, clinics, tournament sponsorships, but most significantly, leadership from the store's personnel. More than half a million dollars have been contributed to chapters in Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Myrtle Beach, Naples, Fla., Delray Beach, Fla., Paramus, N.J., Palo Alto and Phoenix.
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