play / 2021

SCGA Junior Golf Foundation - Player and Youth Development LA

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by SCGA Foundation

The SCGA Junior Golf Foundation’s Player and Youth Development program uses golf as a vehicle to develop successful kids by creating a safe, engaged community that inspires our youth through mentorship and empowerment. We create equity in the game by bringing an affordable, all-inclusive golf program to communities of need. Through intentional golf and positive youth development curriculums, we promote healthy lifestyles, high-impact character attributes and connections to local role models.

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • East LA
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South LA

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

The Foundation is committed to equity, diversity and inclusion in golf. We see that girls, minorities and low-income households have limited participation in and access to the game. We believe that every kid in Southern California, no matter their circumstances, should have the opportunity to pursue the game and experience the positive impact it can have. We do this by making the game affordable and accessible for youth in underreached communities. Children in underserved neighborhoods have limited access to play spaces, including parks. With registration fees, equipment and uniform costs, youth sports leagues can be expensive and those who need youth sports the most have the least access. We are intentional in these communities where golf is not the primary sport, and many are unaware that a local golf facility is close by. Additionally, in underserved communities the cost to play golf is a barrier to entry and we ensure that no child is turned away due to finances.

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

The Player & Youth Development (PYD) program creates equity in the game by bringing an affordable, all-inclusive golf program into underserved communities. Through intentional golf and positive youth development curriculums, we promote healthy lifestyles, high-impact character attributes and connections to local role models. Our PYD communities (Southeast LA and San Fernando Valley) are underserved based on their ethnic makeup, economic status and other risk factors. Our program serves youth in Norwalk, Pico Rivera, Downey, Whittier and Van Nuys; and exists to lift the economic burden for families and encourage equity in golf. We host four, 8-week instruction sessions annually, serving youth ages 5-18 and accommodating all skill levels. Each session includes free on-course play days, club fittings, golf skill assessments and affordable access to practice and play outside of class. Program fees align with our communities to ensure that programming is affordable and comparable to other extracurricular activities. We provide financial assistance to anyone in need, so no one is turned away. Our coaches are the most integral part of our success. It is critical to hire coaches who are from the community and not only look like our participants but have experiences that our youth can relate to. 100% of our coaches hired from the communities we work in, 35% are past program participants. Golf experience is not required; all are trained in golf skill and positive youth development.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative (expanding and continuing ongoing, successful work)

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct impact
Indirect impact

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Golf has historically limited access to groups of individuals based on ethnicity, gender and socioeconomic status. Our work creates community, belonging, and increased capacity and skills for success. Los Angeles County will be more inclusive, equitable and diverse as our kids become connected with each other, coaches, volunteers and supporters. Lessons youth learn from golf are instilled for life. We are committed and invested in research to study our program outcomes, we are engaging in analysis of our outcomes to understand how our positive youth development translates to the participant’s success beyond the course, by decreasing risky behaviors and increasing graduation rates. We are developing youth through our golf and positive youth development curriculum, and training many of them to become the next program leaders. We continue to provide opportunities to coaches for professional growth, community development and economic security, as many work while pursuing higher education.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

In 2020, 39% of our program participants were Latino and 37% were female, compared to the national average of 24% in golf. We keep the game affordable by offering financial assistance to all who have need, ensuring that no one is ever turned away. In 2020, 21% of our families were on financial assistance and we supplemented more than $40,000 in financial aid. Additionally, we continue to research the measurable outcomes of our programming through research with Claremont Graduate University PhD candidates. Our outcomes are tracked using surveys and interviews with parents and participants. The initial study showed that participants see increased positive outcomes in five major areas: cognitive-behavioral, social, emotional, relationship and golf-specific skills. The positive attributes youth see and receive from our coaches will show in the number of youth served and the growth of the program.

Which of the play metrics will you impact?​

  • Youth sports participation
  • Access to open space and park facilities
  • Perceived neighborhood safety

Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.

  • LA is the best place to LEARN
  • LA is the best place to CONNECT