Golf and charity go hand in hand in the United States, where every major PGA and LPGA tour event raises money for charitable causes. The United States Golf Association maintains that philanthropic philosophy through its Good of the Game grant programs. Some of the grants go to charitable groups, while many are designed to build the game of golf in the United States.
Junior Golf Program Grants
The USGA supports numerous nonprofit organizations that provide a variety of services to young golfers. The grants cover costs such as golf course and driving range access, instruction, golf equipment and transportation. Among the organizations that receive these USGA grants are the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf sites and Hook A Kid On Golf clinics. As of 2012, USGA junior program grants have gone to more then 900 nonprofit groups, serving more than 2.5 million youth golfers. According to the USGA, its youth grants have totaled more than $60 million. Some USGA grants are offered in partnership with the LPGA Foundation and the National Alliance for Youth Sports.
The First Tee
In addition to the other junior programs it supports, the USGA is the largest contributor to The First Tee, which was founded by the USGA and several other golf organizations. The First Tee attempts to increase the number of young golfers by offering affordable, youth-friendly facilities where juniors may learn and play golf.
Accessible Golf Program Grants
The USGA states that it has donated more than $5 million to 150-plus nonprofit groups who have served in excess of 75,000 disabled golfers. The USGA works with the National Alliance for Accessible Golf to distribute the grants to worthy organizations. The USGA Alliance grants focus on programs in which people with disabilities play alongside golfers without disabilities, with the goal of blending these golfing communities. The USGA also assists the Special Olympics’ national invitational golf tournament, in which more than 100 golfers compete each year.
Some USGA grants come in the form of matching funds. For example, the American Junior Golf Association’s Leadership Links program allows young golfers to raise money for a variety of causes, ranging from Special Olympics to medical research to youth golf programs. In 2010 the USGA began matching money raised through the AJGA's Leadership Links, with a maximum match of $1,000 per donation.
USGA grants are used by golf associations for a variety of purposes. For example, an $8,000 grant given to the Missouri Women’s Golf Association in 2012 was used to hire in intern to assist with tournament administration. The USGA also funds a variety of turfgrass and environmental research projects. In 2012, for example, the organization offered approximately $1 million to more than 60 projects.