Over the years, thousands of participants, volunteers, teachers, counselors and parents have been touched by the MGA Junior Golf Programs. Here are just some of the heartfelt testimonials that speak volumes about the impact of the MGA's Junior Golf Program.
"It's amazing how teaching a sport to a child might change his or her life. Some of the kids we see here have had little positive reinforcement in anything - just seeing what they can achieve in this area can translate to a feeling of achievement across a wider spectrum."
- George Lyons, Golf Professional, Franklin Park Golf Course
"I was very fortunate to grow up in the junior program here in Massachusetts. The experience and support I received over the years has made me the player and person I am today. The game of golf is unique because it helps shape your value system. I can only hope that every young kid growing up has the same opportunity that I had."
- James Driscoll, PGA Tour Player, 2000 U.S. Amateur Runner-Up and ForeKids Golf Volunteer
"You can play basketball, but you're got to do more, you've got to get into other things. In golf, the game itself brings people together, people from all different backgrounds."
- Ron Whitehead, parent of Derek Whitehead, one of the original ForeKids Golf participants
"The game teaches you a lot of respect and morals. It's great to see innercity kids involved because they're all so very different and what's cool is that they want to play."
- Bryce Piemonte, a former ForeKids Golf participant and volunteer instructor
"There is no doubt that our game has an unparalleled history. The true challenge is to make sure that we put our youngsters in a position where they can continue that great legacy and contribute to the game's vitality. Youth programs such as the MGA ForeKids Program has afffected the lives of more than 25,000 children. Just think of what this program can do over the course of the next seven years. Every child deserves a chance to play the game. Not all of them may love it like we do, but our responsibility is to give them that choice."
- Paul Harney, five-time Massachusetts Open Championship
"As golfers, we understand how important this game is to the individual. No matter how many children you work with at golf clinics over the course of a year, you can never reach as many kids as you hope. Massachusetts has done a great job promoting junior golf and working towards making the future as bright as our past has been."
- Pat Bradley, LPGA & World Golf, Hall of Fame Inductee, Six-time Major Champion
"The kids definitely learn basic knowledge of golf. They understand the rules and stuff, but mostly they get our friendship. A lot of kids don't have the opportunity to talk to an older kid. We're role models for them. They get the opportunity to come here on Saturdays and talk to us and see how we're doing and learn about college life. That's important for a kid who might not be thinking about going to college at all."
- Derek Farm, Springfield College volunteer instructor
"MGA Links and The First Tee are teaching and developing future leaders. While teaching a beginner, it's not unusual for me to have a young The First Tee grad helping with instruction. It's amazing to see the older kids pass on the skills they have learned to a younger generation. It's great to see young kids giving back to the game at such a young age. The kids learn responsibility, rules and golf etiquette all while having a great time. Oftentimes a kid, after a few weeks, will say....."I want to continue to play golf when camp is finished" or "My dad has never played golf...Can I bring him to MGA Links and teach him?" The First Tee is truly shaping lives and growing the game of golf."
- Marty Burke, The First Tee of Massachusetts volunteer
"My kids have absolutely LOVED this program, and look forward to finishing out the fall season and joining again next year. They have enjoyed all the clinic instructors and they loved the weekly The First Tee summer program. Learning to golf through this junior program has given them increased confidence in the game and appreciation for the sport. I am amazed to see the improvement they have made since the beginning of the season. It's also been a great way for them to meet other kids outside of school in a way that promotes mature behavior. When I was a kid, you had to belong to a country club to belong to a junior golf program. I'm so pleased that this program is available for my kids to learn the game. Thanks for all you guys do!"
- Kim Dudek, mother of two MGA Links members
"Our 9-year-old son, Nolan, has a junior membership to MGA links at Mamantapett in Norton, Massachusetts. While he has opportunities to golf closer to home (which is an hour's drive!) he prefers the Norton location because of its kid-friendly atmosphere and a feeling that he belongs there. This membership is perfect for him for many reasons; the course, the programs and the atmosphere are excellent for junior members. The Saturday morning clinics are relaxed and each child receives individual attention from the teaching professionals. The professionals also teach the parts of the game that build character and teach manners which carries over to life off the course. The staff and professionals at Mamantapett strive to ensure that every child enjoys the game of golf."
- Terry McIsaac, mother of MGA Links member, past Boston ForeKids participant
"Over the past three years, my daughter Elizabeth's involvement in The First Tee program has not only improved her golf skills, but it has taught her to respect the game, playing with integrity and proper golf etiquette. Being one of only a few girl members, Elizabeth has been accepted by her male peers, as encouraged by the MGA staff. Through the Saturday morning clinics and Monday league tournaments, Elizabeth has been able to develop wonderful friendships with other members, from surrounding towns and varied age groups. Golf has become Elizabeth's number one sport. She enjoys it so much that she has me exploring options for winter instruction. Thanks, again, for all you do at the First Tee program."
- Paul Laverghetta, parent of MGA Links junior member, Elizabeth, who in 2006 became the first female golfer to compete in the Massachusetts Junior Championship
"I just wanted to drop you a quick note to say thank you for allowing Barnstable Recreation to participate in the summer golf program at MGA Links at Manapamett. This was my third year being involved in this program and it is definitely a highlight of any summer program. The ForeKids program is such a positive experience for children to go through. The instructors are great; they are helpful, polite, and fun. They do a tremendous job with the kids. They are very patient and understanding. The program itself is enjoyable and educational.
It is a proper balance of fun and instruction. The kids loved learning the mechanics of a golf swing and then applying them in a contest or when playing on the course. The life skills that are taught through the program is definitely something you do not see in most sports programs. Lessons on sportsmanship and fair play are sometimes lacking in youth sports. The kids I brought up on Wednesdays truly looked forward to coming to MGA Links. Thank you again for the time and effort you guys put in at the MGA, you have a real special program and I cannot wait for next summer."
- George F. Noonan Jr., Program Coordinator - Barnstable Recreation
"We would like to take this opportunity to let you know how much we enjoy working with the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lowell through the Junior Golf Program run by the MGA. This year will be our eighth year running this after school program through the winter months for the kids at our Golf School. We find the children to be enthusiastic, eager to learn, and fun to teach. Most of the children love the whole experience. Because of the MGA outreach program, the children are exposed to the game of golf and most would not have the opportunity otherwise. Some really take a liking to the game and come back year after year.
It's great to see them grow, enjoy the game and progress in their golf skills. The children come in once a week for twelve weeks. We teach them the fundamentals of the full swing, pitching, chipping and putting. Then they play some golf on the indoor simulators. This is where they learn etiquette, course management, and terminology among other things. Most of all, this is where they have fun playing the game of golf. At the end of the visit, they enjoy a drink or an ice cream and on their last visit we have a pizza party. The skills they are learning go way beyond the game of golf. Honesty, etiquette, perseverance and determinations are just a few of the life skills they are learning here. These days with budgets being cut for a lot of programs, it’s more important than ever that these children receive all the help we can give them. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your program."
- Meryl Pappas, PGA Golf Professional - Pappas Golf School