The 37th Annual Friends of Golf Tournament, a yearly event at Bel-Air CC that raises significant funds for the youth-golf based organization, honored three U.S. Amateur champions at this year’s event but it was kids from the SCGA Junior program Monday night that may have left the biggest impact on the tournament’s 300+ guests.
Speaking in front of a room of influential, passionate golfers, 24-year-old Desi Dominguez shared her story with guests, explaining why golf has changed her life and thanking the room for donating to causes like Friends of Golf.
“In high school, I was never that straight A student,” said Dominguez. “But what kept me motivated in school was the chance to play golf. That was my reason to keep on trying. It meant everything to me and really changed my life.”
Dominguez, who received her opportunities to play golf through SCGA Junior as a teenager, would eventually become an SCGA Junior scholar and graduate from college with a degree in sociology.
“I ended up working as a coach in the SCGA Junior Instruction Program while in school and it became such a positive outlet in my life,” said Dominguez. “Coaching became my passion, and I’m proud to say that I now have a full-time job coaching juniors from my community with SCGA Junior. Golf changed my life and now I can help it change others kids’ lives too.”
Friends of Golf is the presenting sponsor of SCGA Junior’s Instruction Program, and due to the funds donated by FoG over the past two years, the program has been able to expand its offerings to four sites and more than 700 kids. The Instruction Program teaches kids to learn and play golf through the Titleist Performance Institute program that helps builds athletes first, and golfers next. It also incorporates a decision-making curriculum that teaches etiquette and other valuable life skills.
Dominguez left the podium to an immediate standing ovation by the dinner guests, before setting the stage for 2016 FoG honorees Bryson de Chambeau, John Cook and Jerry Pate. Earlier in the day, the three former U.S. Amateur winners led a clinic that featured SCGA Junior members Alyaa Albulghany and Sal Hinojosa, who showed off their blossoming golf skills for the crowd.
“I’m supposed to give you advice on your swing, but I’m at a loss,” said SCGA Hall of Famer Cook to Abulghany, who is the reigning California High School Girls’ Golf Champion. “Honestly all I can say is keep doing what you’re doing.”
Friends of Golf, which was founded in 1978 by SCGA Hall of Famer Eddie Merrins, has a mission to grow the game of golf through monetary donations to youth golf organizations at all levels. It has been the largest supporter of SCGA Junior for the past two years.