Month: February 2019

PGA REACH Philadelphia Debuts as Charitable Arm of the Philadelphia Section PGA

New Foundation to Provide Golf Programming and Grants Focused Specifically on Three Core Pillars of Youth, Military and Diversity

Lower Gwynedd Township, PA., February 28, 2019… The Philadelphia Section PGA introduces PGA REACH Philadelphia, a 501(c)3 non-profit foundation whose mission is to positively impact lives and communities through the game of golf, with a focus on 3 core pillars: youth, military and diverse populations.

The Philadelphia Section of the PGA of America consists of more than 880 PGA Professionals and Assistants located in Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey (Trenton – south), Delaware and parts of Northern Maryland, who are at the forefront of golf programming and initiatives that grow the game of golf at more than 300 public and private golf facilities. Under the guidance of these PGA Professionals, PGA REACH Philadelphia’s goal is to grow the game by providing financial assistance, instruction, instructional materials, mentoring, equipment and scholarships to individuals and organizations throughout the region.

“Our entire staff, along with our Executive Committee and District Directors, are thrilled to officially debut PGA REACH Philadelphia and begin our journey to positively impact lives and inspire a new generation of golfers,” said Geoff Surrette, Executive Director, Philadelphia Section PGA. “PGA REACH, at the national level, has made a tremendous impact with programs like PGA HOPE and PGA Jr. League, and we are committed to utilizing these initiatives and many others as our dedicated PGA Professionals introduce the intrinsic values of golf to people from every walk of life.”

Among the key programs offered by PGA REACH Philadelphia is PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere). The PGA of America’s flagship military program, PGA HOPE provides weekly golf clinics to Veterans with disabilities in order to enhance their physical, mental, social and emotional well-being. As golf has become a therapeutic part of the rehabilitation process for many Veterans with disabilities, PGA HOPE is truly making a difference in their lives.

PGA REACH Philadelphia is working with facilities and VA hospitals to identify golf courses to host five-week golf programs led by trained PGA Professionals that provide Veterans with golf instruction, course access, and adaptive equipment where needed. Prior to the official debut of PGA REACH Philadelphia, the Philadelphia PGA HOPE program served over 100 veterans through their 2 chapters in Bensalem, PA and Burlington, NJ. Under the direction of the new foundation, PGA HOPE is expected to grow substantially in 2019 and beyond, and continue impacting the lives of Veterans across the region.

Another marque program of PGA REACH is their flagship youth initiative, PGA Jr. League, golf’s version of Little League baseball, which provides a fun, social and inclusive opportunity for boys and girls, ages 13 and under, to learn and play the game of golf in a popular “team” scramble format. Each team is coached by a PGA or LPGA Professional, and all players wear team uniforms with player numbers on the back. More than 1,800 kids participated throughout the Philadelphia PGA region in 2018, encompassing over 130 teams, playing in 31 Leagues at 86 public, private and First Tee facilities. In 2019, under the direction of the foundation, the goal for PGA Jr. League is to grow this number and provide opportunities for children to play the game without barriers by providing scholarships to fund those in need of financial assistance.

Also, under the of the youth pillar in PGA REACH Philadelphia, is the Golf in Schools Program. PGA REACH Philadelphia, in collaboration with the Golf Association of Philadelphia, created this program to grow the game of golf among youth in local communities. A comprehensive curriculum, developed by PGA Professionals, is designed to introduce the game to students of all skill levels through their physical education classes in school. The program focuses on the basic fundamentals of the game as well as the mental and physical health benefits that the lifelong sport provides. The goal of the foundation is to grow and expand the program by activating dozens of new schools while continuing to work with PGA Professionals and educators to enhance the program curriculum.

“Establishing PGA REACH Philadelphia is a tremendous achievement for our 880 PGA members throughout the Section, and we are excited for the opportunities the organization presents to use the game of golf to give back and help put smiles on the faces of children, our dedicated Veterans and any individual we can help to inspire,” said, John Rogers, PGA, President, Philadelphia Section PGA.

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Craig Bowden-Brett Melton (28-under) Win PGA Senior-Junior Team Championship

By Craig Dolch
Special to PGA of America

Click here for final results

Craig Bowden made a putt he needed to and partner Brett Melton holed a chip he didn’t expect to make.

Those late birdies were the difference as Bowden and Melton shot a 7-under 65 Thursday to win the PGA Senior-Junior Team Championship by two shots at 28-under at PGA Golf Club.

They were tied for the lead at 26-under with two teams when Melton had a 25-foot downhill putt on the par-5 16th hole on the Wanamaker Course. Bowden had also reached the green in 2, but rolled his eagle putt 12 feet past. Bowden chose to hit his birdie putt first.

“I was grinding on it because I knew Brett’s putt was fast and it could get away from him,” Bowden said. “We both were glad to see it go in.”

They were ecstatic when Melton holed a 30-yard chip from behind the par-3 7th green. Melton did his Rich Beem impersonation with a victory dance as they celebrated the clinching shot. It was the first PGA Winter Championship for Bowden of Bloomington, Indiana, and Melton of Coatesville, Pennsylvania.

“I was just trying to get it within a foot,” Melton said. “It went right in the middle like it had eyes. We were joking two holes ago that we hadn’t chipped in all week.”

The final round got off to an unexpected start when the team of Gary Robison-Greg Boyette, who led by two after 54 holes, was disqualified late Wednesday night because of a scoring error. In the third round, Robison was credited with a birdie on the 12th hole when Boyette made it.

Even though their score of 11-under 61 was correct, they were disqualified under Rule 23.2b(1) that states “each side on the scoreboard must be clearly identified as the score of the individual partner who made it; if this is not done, the side is disqualified.” The rule is for handicap reasons. Robison called PGA of America officials Wednesday night to inform them of the error.

“That was horrible,” Melton said. “We had no idea until we got to the first tee and we didn’t see anyone there.” (They played with a marker).

Melton is a PGA Professional at Radley Run and Bowden plays out of Bloomington Country Club. They split $10,000.

Bob Sowards of Dublin, Ohio and Doug Wade of South Lebanon, Ohio shot a 62 and tied for second place at 26-under with Mike Martin of New Haven, Connecticut, and Peter Ballo of Stamford, Connecticut.

“We held it together early. We hit a lot of good shots on the back nine, but burned a lot of edges coming in,” Ballo said.

Said Martin: “This team was put together at the last moment. It worked out great.”

Frank Esposito of Old Bridge, New Jersey, and Brett Jones of Basking Ridge, New Jersey, shot 62 to finish fourth at 263.

The PGA Winter Championships are presented by and PrimeSport.