Golf Industry Central Autumn 2013 - Page 16

Jack Nicklaus Learning Leagues, powered by SNAG®, to be introduced in U.S. Park and Recreation programs In an effort to bring golf into the mainstream of youth sports, golf legend Jack Nicklaus has embarked on an initiative to grow the game with the assistance of SNAG® Golf (Starting New at Golf) and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). The new Jack Nicklaus Learning Leagues, powered by SNAG, will be introduced at select local park and recreation facilities in 2013, and for the first time golf will be made available to youngsters as a team sport. The innovative Jack Nicklaus Learning Leagues, combined with SNAG’s well-established, firsttouch development program, will provide a golf learning experience for children, ages 5 through 12, in a safe, affordable and accessible environment. relying on other children, so it is not all on their shoulders. A lot of kids shy away from golf because of that. When I picked up the game at age 10, one of the beauties of the sport was that I could do it by myself. I didn’t need someone to throw a ball to me or catch a ball or defend me. I could be as good as the time and effort that I wanted to put into it. But at the very young age many children are introduced to sports, many don’t want so much placed on their shoulders. The idea is to bring kids into the game, keep them into the game, have them learn, let them have fun, have fun with their friends, and then they can advance to the next level where they get on a golf course and develop.” Nicklaus has been an important advocate for growing the game and he envisions that with SNAG’s programming and modified equipment, and the active participation of local park and recreation agencies through the National Recreation and Park Association, golf at last will have a competitive footing with such team sports as soccer, basketball and football. The first time golf will be made available to youngsters as a team sport “There are so many sports-team sports-played in the park system today,” Nicklaus said. “Today, kids start playing athletics when they are as young as 4 or 5 years old, and by the time they are just 7, 8 or 9 years old, many of them have picked the two or three sports that they might want to play in the different seasons. If golf is not part of the sports introduced and available to them at their local park and recreation facilities, they will play other sports and not golf. So we need to get golf in their local parks and have them play our sport, and I think the team concept is the way to do it. “Children seem to embrace the team concept of looking to and 14 The Jack Nicklaus Learning Leagues will be separated by age groups: 5- and 6-year-olds; 7-8; 9-10; and 11-12. Each league will have a set number of children per team and incorporate a specialized, ageappropriate format and learning curriculum. Terry Anton, founder and CEO of SNAG Golf, is enthusiastic about the leadership position of Jack Nicklaus in the establishment of the Jack Nicklaus Le \