The forty third annual Associates of Golf – Event of Associates at Bel Air Nation Membership was held final week, serving to to advertise and encourage younger golfers.
Associates of Golf, or FOG as it’s identified, is a non-profit group designed to assist pupil athlete golfers of almost all ages. From grade faculty all by school, golfers have been instilled with the values of ethics, honesty, and fellowship by this system.
Initially based in 1979 by Eddie Merrins, nicknamed “The Lil Professional,” FOG has donated over $10 million to excessive faculties, faculties, and non-profit organizations serving to develop the game.
Through the years, Associates of Golf has honored prestigious names like Jack Nicklaus, Sir Nick Faldo, Annika Sorenstam, Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Lorena Ochoa and Collin Morikawa.
This yr, it was Ryder Cup standout Max Homa and LPGA legend, Juli Inkster, who have been the honorees.
Associates of Golf honor Juli Inkster and Max Homa
As gamers completed their rounds Monday afternoon, Inkster and Homa arrived on the primary tee. Their presence was each thrilling and academic.
Following their introductions, three younger golfers have been showcased having honed their expertise by the group. Watching three brothers, aged eight by 15, pipe the ball down the middle of the golf green with lovely swings was a factor to behold.
Then it was the professionals flip.
Homa exhibited why he’s a fan favourite on the PGA Tour. He joked about not having fun with the order of issues to date.
Throughout introductions, Inkster was launched because the 7-time main winner and World Golf Corridor of Fame inductee. That’s a tricky act to comply with. Then after watching a 15-year-old hit 280 yard good drives, one after one other, it’s not straightforward to go subsequent.
However, Homa pulled out some irons and placed on a present. He taught everybody how you can hit a fade, then a minimize, going into nice element.
Inkster and Homa then took questions from the viewers, offering some nice perception into knowledgeable golfer’s mentality. Inkster, one of many best feminine golfers of all-time, gave newbie golfers a number of the greatest recommendation they’ll ever hear.
Associates of Golf Non-public Banquet Dinner
After Inkster, Homa and the kids placed on a golf clinic, it was time for the dinner banquet.
In the course of the beautiful dinner, we have been all handled to a reside public sale. Members and of the Bel Air Nation Membership and sponsors of FOG provided up journeys all all over the world, auctioning them off to lift cash for the group.
A number of the holidays included rounds of golf at prestigious programs across the globe, with many together with First or Enterprise Class airfare. Journeys to Maui, New Zealand and the Mediterranean coast have been received.
Turkish Airways supplied one of many most-exhaustive, thrilling journeys with quite a few rounds of golf simply exterior of Istanbul. That package deal, together with the opposite journeys, almost raised six figures to assist Associates of Golf with their mission of rising the sport.
That cash will go immediately towards serving to fund under-privileged pupil athletes trying to study or enhance their sport.
Ken Venturi ‘Spirit of Giving Award’
Following dinner, which was completely scrumptious by the best way, all in attendance have been handled as soon as once more.
Bel Air Nation Membership member and large proponent of Associates of Golf, Jim Nantz, made his presence felt. Nantz, who’s thought to be one of many best and most versatile sports activities broadcasters in historical past, joined Homa and Inkster for a query and reply session.
It was a really intimate setting for followers and members. We realized a lot extra about who Homa and Inkster are as individuals and the way they got here to be gigantic figures within the sport of golf.
However Nantz additionally frolicked informing anybody unaware of the importance of Associates of Golf. I actually had goosebumps as Nantz spoke concerning the historical past of this occasion.
“This was the First Tee earlier than there ever was a First Tee,” Nantz stated.
First Tee is a extensively identified non-profit group with the objective of enhancing kids’s lives and social expertise by the sport of golf. That group was based in 1997, when golf really exploded as Tiger Woods took over sports activities globally.
However that was nonetheless 18 years after FOG took up the trigger.
As Nantz defined, it was at this occasion in 1991 that Jack Nicklaus first met a younger Tiger Woods.
After studying the thrilling historical past and tales of this unimaginable event, it was time for the Ken Venturi ‘Spirit of Giving Award’ to be offered.
Venturi was a professional golfer who sadly had his profession shortened attributable to damage. He did nevertheless win the 1964 U.S. Open together with means, together with 14 PGA Tour occasions earlier than occurring to turn out to be one of many higher identified golf broadcasters.
Shortly after passing away in 2013, Venturi was inducted into the World Golf Corridor of Fame.
This yr’s recipient was Tom Addis III. He’s the previous PGA of America President.
“Tom Addis is the best recipient for this yr’s Ken Venturi ‘Spirit of Giving’ Award, as he has devoted his life, each personally and professionally, to rising the sport of golf and establishing entry to the game for individuals from all walks of life,” says FOG President Peter Greatest.
Addis III joins Al Michaels (2022) and Vin Scully (2020) as a number of the extra universally identified figures to obtain the award.
All in all, it was a spectacular day for all these concerned. It was my pleasure and honor to attend and canopy such a prestigious occasion.
Kendall Capps is the Senior Editor/Editorial Supervisor of SB Nation’s Taking part in By means of. For extra golf protection, comply with us on all main social media platforms at @_PlayingThrough