The game of golf is extremely important to the State of Arizona, and with roughly 200 golf courses in the Phoenix area alone, the game is a defining feature of the Valley of the Sun. The Thunderbirds – hosts of the Waste Management Phoenix Open – are obviously extremely familiar with golf, using the game to raise millions of dollars for charity each year from the proceeds generated from one of the PGA TOUR’s most iconic stops.
The Thunderbirds aren’t only interested in the world’s best players who tee it up at TPC Scottsdale each year for “The People’s Open”. The game of golf can only grow through participation of youth who enjoy the game, which is why The Thunderbirds have sponsored the Junior Golf Association of Arizona (JGAA) for decades, and proudly support one of the JGAA’s largest annual events – The Thunderbird Invitational.
“As a Thunderbird, our main fundraiser is the Waste Management Phoenix Open, but it really starts with junior golf,” said Alex Clark, Thunderbird and JGAA board chairman. “The game of golf is the greatest connector of all and were so fortunate to be involved.”
JGAA Executive Director Scott McNevin echoes Clark’s sentiments about the game and its importance to our communities.
“Golf is really a game they can play for their entire life and teach their kids as well,” McNevin said. “We see a lot of our kids move on to college, and even if they don’t play in college, they get an education and hopefully get back to the game once they graduate college and become successful citizens.”
The program is working tremendously. In the last two years, the JGAA graduated more than 100 kids that will play some level of collegiate golf – something The Thunderbirds and the JGAA are extremely proud of.