At its most basic level, the
mission of the TGA Foundation is to ensure the game of golf grows and prospers.
That calling takes many forms, but in each case golf and growing the game are
front and center in the TGA’s charitable efforts.
The Bill Penn Grants are a
perfect example. Named after the esteemed former TGA Executive Director, these annual
gifts of up to $5,000 are allocated to select organizations that enrich their
communities through outreach, such as golf instruction on the local level,
educational resources and junior golf programs.
This year the two Bill Penn
Grant recipients have similar pursuits. The LPGA-USGA Girls Golf of Fort Worth-Dallas West and Girls Golf of
Greater Houston both introduce young girls to the game and use the instruction
process to instill vital life skills such as self-discipline, confidence,
honesty, loyalty and commitment through group lessons and one-on-one mentoring.
Gladys Lee, an LPGA Class A
Professional who is known as “Coach Lee” to hundreds of youngsters she’s
nurtured, started her LPGA-USGA Girls Golf of Fort Worth-Dallas West group back
in 1986 under the name of the Roaring Lambs International Junior Golf Program. That
was a co-ed organization dedicated to encouraging the participation of
multi-racial, inner-city youth in junior golf activities. The Roaring Lambs
grew to the DFW suburbs to provide training and opportunities to children of
every social, economic, race and religious background.
“With great pride for three
decades it has been my observation to witness young women and men who
participated in the Roaring Lambs program utilize the outstanding values that
were taught,” Coach Lee said. “I’ve seen these young people develop, grow and
focus on the commitment it takes to become future leaders in any area of
interest they chose to seek.”
In 2015, the Roaring Lambs
became exclusive to girls and was rebranded under the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf umbrella.
The boys in Coach Lee’s program were welcomed by other junior golf groups,
which allowed her to focus on girls.
Serena Shaw, an 18-year-old
senior at Hebron High School in Carrollton, has been active in the Roaring
Lambs since she was 12. Shaw said the support and guidance she’s received from
Coach Lee helped her gain the confidence to pursue a collegiate golf career,
something she’s working toward. But it’s so much more than that, Shaw
“Coach Lee cares about the
well-being of her students,” said Shaw, who in June won medalist honors at her
U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur qualifier. “Golf is more than just a score to her.
It’s a lifestyle, and she has been able to instill that into her students. She
knows that golf is mentally a challenging game, and works with her students not
only on perfecting their swings but strengthening their minds. She is an
advocate for her junior golfers and provides every opportunity to help them
achieve their dreams.”
The LPGA-USGA Girls Golf of Fort
Worth-Dallas West this year received a Bill Penn Grant of $5,000. Counting
Serena Shaw, there are currently 36 girls registered for the program. Coach Lee
said she recently decided to never turn away a child because her parents can’t
afford the fees. Nearly half of the funds from the TGA Foundation will pay for
the full 2018 tuition for 11 girls.
“If the family can’t afford the
program, I don’t charge them,” Coach Lee said. “It’s just $225 for an annual
fee. This grant will help subsidize those fees for young girls who want to join
but their families can’t afford it.”
Coach Lee said she’ll use the
remainder of the Bill Penn Grant on various costs, such as PGA Junior League
fees, replacing golf equipment and green fees. To learn more about the Roaring
Lambs and LPGA -USGA Girls Golf DFW, click
Girls Golf of Greater Houston
also received funding this year from the TGA Foundation. Executive Director
Stacey Frank plans to use her organization’s $2,000 Bill Penn Grant to enhance
her annual six-week golf camp for girls ages 6-16.
Every summer for the past
four years, Frank oversees anywhere from a dozen to 18 girls. The girls mostly
come from inner-city environments where golf is about as common as wide, open
spaces. Frank divides the campers into two groups: girls ages 6-10 and 11-16.
“I wanted to give young girls
in the community an opportunity and exposure to the game of golf, the sport I
love,” Frank said. “There is little to no golf taught in our local elementary
and middle schools, so I wanted to give inner-city kids an opportunity to learn
the game and the life skills golf can bring.”
Frank also exposes the girls to
opportunities that golf can provide later in life with college scholarships and
access to future career-assisting contacts. These two benefits of Girls Golf of
Greater Houston strikes a chord with the parents.
appreciative of the exposure the girls get to the game of golf,” Frank said. “When
I speak to the parents about the college scholarships that golf can offer their
girls, they are enlightened because most parents are unaware that golf can
provide a future for their daughters.”
with the youngsters on all the fundamentals of the game – grip, putting,
pitching, chipping and the full swing are all covered. When camp ends, they all
get to play a nine-hole round of golf. For most, it will be the first time
they’ve ever played.
Frank received from the Bill Penn Grants will be used to upgrade equipment she
uses at the Girls Golf of Greater Houston camps, as well as prizes and t-shirts
for the campers. For more information on Girls Golf of Greater Houston,
learn more about the Bill Penn Grants and the opportunities they provide, click here.