National golf-development programs have been foundational for decades in cultivating and launching talented players in almost every country across the world, from Canada to Sweden to South Africa to South Korea to Australia. At long last, the United States is on board the national developmental train.
The USGA on Friday launched the U.S. National Development Program, partnering with several leading golf organizations to create the country’s first “unified pathway to nurture the potential of America’s top players” starting in competitive junior golf and progressing to the professional ranks.
“Today, nearly every other competitive golf country in the world offers a national development program to foster and develop its elite junior talent. The United States is at a huge competitive disadvantage in this regard, as we simply ask our athletes, parents and coaches to forge their own path, without any unified national guidance or financial support,” Whan said. “Golf is the only major sport in the U.S. without a national development program. Today, that ends. Today, we start building a junior development program that will ensure a stronger American pipeline of diverse, high-potential talent.”
The U.S. National Development Program will identify, train, develop, fund and support the nation’s most promising players – regardless of gender, cultural, geographical or financial background – to ensure that American golf remains the global leader in the game. It will create a sustainable grant program to financially assist identified male and female players with entry fees, travel, coaching costs, golf course access, equipment and more.
“The journey from junior golf to elite competition has become complicated and cost-prohibitive for many families,” said Heather Daly-Donofrio, USGA managing director of player relations and development. “It is our duty to unify and simplify the process by removing any barriers that prevent the most promising juniors from reaching their full potential. The success of this program will not only support and elevate the talent of today's top players, but also diversify and strengthen the next generation of great American golfers.”
Where the USNDP can be a game-changer is outside the traditional breeding grounds for young golfers whose families have the means. It is committed to reaching players from underrepresented communities to ensure they have the resources to progress within the sport’s strongest competitive and developmental opportunities.
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