In a recent post you read about my feelings centered around growing junior golf programs like the one we have at Ranken Jordan. I am very passionate in believing that there should be at least 1 of these programs in each of the 41 PGA Sections. Currently there are programs in 3 sections (Gateway, South Florida, & North Texas). What can be done about this and how can we start seeing more junior golf programs at pediatric hospitals throughout the country? There is one simple answer: you can help!
Some of you will read that answer and think, "I am not a golf professional or involved with pediatric medical care. How in the world can I help?" Easy. You most likely know of a pediatric hospital somewhere near where you live. Or maybe you have a life-long friend who works at a pediatric hospital. If you play golf you possibly take lessons from a PGA Professional who would be excited to get involved with a junior program like this. After all, the PGA and the USGA are focused on growing the game, especially at the junior level.
Here is how those of you who are not golf professionals can help. This will require some feedback from you so feel free to post a comment or e-mail me. What I would like to see from anyone outside the St. Louis area is a pediatric hospital, a PGA Professional, or both, that would be good candidates for establishing a junior golf program similar to the one at Ranken Jordan. Those of you who live in or near St. Louis, get in touch with friends or relatives outside this area and see what suggestions they have. Please do not feel that you have to find both a pediatric hospital and a golf professional. If you provide information on just one of those two I will find the other one.
I am sure there are plenty of my fellow PGA Professionals around the country who are reading this as well and the same request is made of you. Let me know of a pediatric facility near you that would be a good place to start a junior golf program. You don't necessarily have to be involved but trust me when I tell you that you will get as much or more out of the program than the kids will. If you are in an area that does not have a pediatric hospital nearby then contact one of your peers who is. As PGA Professionals we are expected to build and improve the game of golf. You will be completely blown away when you see the type of impact you can have on the kids and their families by getting involved with one of these junior programs. Knowing intimately the hours worked by a PGA Professional, I understand the hesitation of some of not wanting to commit to additional responsibility. However there are ways to make it work if you really want to. And if you want to make an impact on the game of golf as well as on people in general, this is a great way to do it.
With the almost immediate exchange of information available in today's world thanks to current technology, it should not be overly difficult for everybody reading this to find answers to the questions I have posed. Through your help junior golf programs like the one at Ranken Jordan can become more commonplace than what they currently are. Every week I see the impact the game of golf is having on the kids while they recover from a wide variety of complex medical conditions. Now that I have that knowledge, I would be totally remiss if I did not do my part to spread these programs as much as possible. I thank you in advance for your help and look forward to all of your answers!