14-year-old Texie Petchel stepped up to the first tee during the 2012 fresh&easy-Kraft Foods Legacy Junior Challenge at Mission Hills CC, proudly wearing her SCGA Foundation golf shirt. Many of the other girls involved in the event wore shirts donned with golf clothing company logos, but it made sense for Texie to be sporting the SCGA Junior Golf Foundation’s brand.

“The SCGA Junior is her biggest sponsor!” said her dad J.J., who was standing just feet away from the tee box. “The number of rounds and buckets of balls that program has given her has been a blessing.”

The SCGA Junior program creates affordable access to golf for youth by establishing $1-$5 green and range fees at local golf facilities. Participants get certified for SCGA Junior upon successful completion of a series of online quizzes that include golf rules, etiquette and Life Skills.

“I am growing to appreciate the SCGA Junior program more each year we conduct it,” said Mike Rashko, PGA Teaching Professional at The Golf Club at Rancho California. “Everyone involved benefits from it.  First and foremost, the kids have affordable access to area ranges and golf courses. I can use it as a selling point for our junior program. The junior students practice more and it creates better golfers and more golf lessons for myself.  Lastly, the range and golf course operators win, because it creates new customers and encourages the whole family to come out to their facilities.”

Currently, more than 155 facilities and 4,000 juniors are involved with SCGA Junior. The Foundation is not only proud to be getting kids out on the course, but also to be helping them get involved in a game that teaches integrity, character and responsibility. Parents like J.J. recognize that when watching their own kids out on the green.

“I believe that the values the game of golf teaches children, especially honesty and respect for others, is directly related to the type of person they will be as adults,” said J.J. “All parents want these values ingrained in their children. Thanks to the SCGA Junior program, my children are learning these values through an enjoyable game they can play for a lifetime.”

All Southern California juniors aged 8-17 are eligible for the program, and yearly fees are just $50 per member, or $25 for an additional junior family member at the same address. Financial assistance is also available to those who need it.

“SCGA Junior isn’t about creating champion golfers, although I have no doubt there will be some,” said J.J., who’s two kids have already had success in tournament golf. “It is about creating a passion for the game and fostering a generation of successful people who will be able to afford to play golf as adults.”