Lincoln, NE – After donating their 100th set of clubs and push carts through the Clubs FORE Youth program in 2022, PGA REACH Nebraska has announced six more High School Girls’ Golf Programs as 2023 Clubs FORE Youth Recipients. Lincoln Northeast, Lincoln Northwest, Bayard, Schuyler Central, Lexington and Boone Central High School Girls Golf programs will be impacted this season.
In 2018, PGA REACH Nebraska worked with the Nebraska Schools Activities Association to conduct a study covering more than 70 High School Girls Golf programs across the state to identify barriers to golf for girls. The results were staggering. The study found that 56% of the girls in Nebraska competing in high school golf do not use their own clubs and 43% of the equipment used was outdated, broken, or borderline unusable.
In an effort to fix this problem, PGA REACH Nebraska implemented the ‘Clubs FORE Youth’ program in 2021 with the goal of fully equipping ALL High School Girl’s Golf programs in need of resources and equipment assistance. Clubs FORE Youth is an initiative founded by the Southern California Section PGA to provide high school-aged girls (14-18) with the necessary golf equipment and resources needed to compete and experience the game’s most important characteristics.
“We identified a barrier, and we are committed to bridging this gap by providing every female scholar-athlete in our state with the proper equipment needed to compete. We want to level the playing field”, said PGA REACH Nebraska Managing Director Seth Scollard, PGA.
The benefits of Clubs FORE Youth include brand new sets of Callaway golf clubs and bags, Sun Mountain push carts, Nebraska PGA Professional instruction, and course access through the partnership with Nebraska Junior Golf & the Nebraska Golf Association.
The six newly selected schools will soon join the growing list of Nebraska High School Girl’s Golf Programs that have been impacted by Clubs FORE Youth:
PGA REACH Nebraska Board Members Dawn Neujahr, PGA and Al Peterson, PGA had the pleasure of contacting the 2023 Clubs FORE Youth recipients and their reactions to the news were priceless.
2023 Clubs FORE Youth Recipients
Lincoln Northeast High School
Coach Brett Davis' Reaction:
I was filled with joy and excitement when I learned our program was selected for Clubs FORE Youth. It takes out the worry and stress of hoping the girls have the essential necessities to participate in the sport. Most of the girls that have been part of our program start with clubs that have been handed down from grandparents or random clubs that have been donated to the school. Our push carts are damaged and old. Clubs FORE Youth is going to have such a positive impact on our team and program, we will have more confidence and hope when showing up to golf.
Lincoln Northwest High School
Coach Jake Anderson's Reaction:
This is a huge deal for our program and our school. Words cannot describe how thankful I was to have the opportunity to apply for the Clubs FORE Youth program, let alone Northwest being a recipient. It brings me great joy in knowing that I can use these clubs to grow the game of golf. Last season, I lost four girls who were genuinely interested in playing because they didn't have their own equipment. It's exciting that this won't be an issue going forward because of PGA REACH Nebraska!
Bayard Public Schools
Coach Jim Roberts' Reaction:
It means the world to a small school such as ours. It is a source of validation and recognition for our whole community. This creates opportunities for our kids to compete at their highest level and the means to do it. New equipment and expertise of PGA Professionals will give our students that chance. By providing opportunities for girls to play and compete, girls golf programs help to break down barriers and create a more inclusive sports community.
Schuyler Central High School
Coach Shanda Hall's Reaction:
Having the opportunity to be a part of Clubs FORE Youth is tremendous. The girls and I are super grateful for the support being offered, especially with the opportunity to be coached by PGA staff. The realization that so many ladies teams are leveling up with access to equipment and instruction with PGA pros is the first step in the impact you are making. The great part is that this will act as a ripple effect allowing younger girls to experience the benefits of golf and to assist coaches in improving themselves. I am super excited that girls across the state are getting this opportunity and locking in how amazing it is to be a female athlete as a golfer.
Lexington High School
Coach Lauren Daberkow's Reaction:
It is exciting for our kids in our community to have this opportunity with Clubs FORE Youth and hopefully it will give them a good experience. I want this to be an opportunity for them to develop a stronger love for the game. In addition with the new equipment, I am excited for our team to receive PGA Instruction and I hope that it gives them momentum heading into the fall season. In the end, this is going to go a long way in helping our program.
Boone Central High School
Coach Amy Ahlers' Reaction:
Truthfully, it is hard for me to even begin to express how excited and thankful I am to have been chosen as a recipient of this program. I know that by receiving this equipment and PGA instruction, we are going to be able to grow the game of golf in amazing ways at Boone Central! Having the opportunity to work with PGA Professionals this summer will be very impactful. The knowledge that will be shared with my players will be critical in helping them develop their skills and further grow their abilities. This will provide a strong foundation for them to build upon as they practice throughout the summer and transition into our fall season.
The coaches haven’t been the only ones vocal about the program and the positive impact it has had on these High School Girl’s Golf programs.
It’s staggering to think a High School junior competing in golf was forced to teach herself to swing right-handed just because she didn’t have access to left-handed clubs. With the help from Clubs FORE Youth, Autumn Hoppe of West Holt High School, enjoyed her senior season by playing from the correct side of the ball with her new clubs.
Inclusion is a core value of PGA REACH Nebraska, and we are committed to making sure that people of all backgrounds have access to and feel authentically welcome in the game and business of golf. Clubs FORE Youth has carried those values and continues to break down barriers that have held back High School girls all across the state for so many years. It’s been two years since the inception of the program and Clubs FORE Youth will have already completed 20 High School Girls’ Golf programs in the Nebraska Section by the end of 2023.
The six selected schools for this season will receive their new sets of clubs and push carts along with PGA Professional instruction this summer. “We’re looking forward to spending time with each of these programs and we are excited for them to experience the game of golf in the way they deserve to experience it,” said Scollard.
The fact 20 High School Girl’s Golf programs will be completed after 2023 is exciting, but the need for assistance is still overwhelmingly high. There was a 58% increase in Clubs FORE Youth applications this year and we acknowledge there is plenty of work to be done. PGA REACH Nebraska is committed to this program for years to come and we look forward to the continued support from donors and communities as we continue to make a positive impact on people’s lives through the game of golf.