Earlier this fall the team at Desert Mountain met with the Junior Golf Association of Arizona and came up with a way to support their efforts in raising funds and awareness for junior golf programming. With the assistance and guidance of Desert Mountain’s Director of Golf, John Lyberger, along with longtime DM member and active junior golf parent Joe Lloyd, thus the inaugural JGAA’s Desert Mountain Drive was born. This dynamic duo worked with the JGAA Special Committee led by 5 time Arizona Amateur Champion Ken Kellaney to create an experience like no other in the valley…sounds cliché but it’s the truth.
How you say? First let’s start with the venue. Playing host to this event was Desert Mountain’s newest addition which is a championship 18 hole par 54 golf course with perfect greens, beautiful landscapes, and lush tees aptly named…No. 7. That’s right! All par 3’s that are sure to test golfers of every level. Each of the 20 teams was comprised of 4 players accompanied by a junior golfer who assisted their respective group in a scramble format where birdies were a must if you wanted to be atop the leaderboard.
Next let’s talk about this year’s participants. In the 100 player field was a 3 time LPGA U.S. Open Champion (Suzie Maxwell), the 2019 U.S. Junior Amateur Champion (Preston Summerhays), Committee Chair and 5 time Arizona Amateur Champion (Ken Kellaney), and the 4 time JGAA Girls Player of the Year (Ashley Menne). The JGAA members who participated showcased what the JGAA is all about as they helped their team score throughout the day. Many junior participants were one of the 53 graduating seniors the JGAA has taking their game to the next level to play collegiate golf in the coming year.
The proceeds from the JGAA Desert Mountain Drive will directly support the JGAA Foundation activities including the Youth on Course program as well as the Financial Aid Assistance Fund. These two programs combined total over $60,000 annually, but the community impact outweighs the cost as these programs ensure juniors in need have access to participate in the programming and play golf without the financial hardship. Youth on Course Arizona operated by the JGAA subsidized over 2,900 rounds of golf in 2018 and allows juniors to play over 30 golf courses for $5 or less. The 2019 numbers show a significant increase with a projected total of over 4,000 junior rounds which equals a total subsidy this year of over $40,000.