New Jersey Golf Foundation's 2012 'Golf in Schools' Program Reaches 90,000 Kids

The New Jersey Golf Foundation (NJGF), the charitable arm of the New Jersey PGA Section (NJPGA), has announced that 90,000 children (K-8th grade) at more than 160 schools in New Jersey will participate in the 2012 "Golf in Schools" program. The initiative is designed to introduce the game to children, by incorporating it into the physical education curriculum at elementary and middle schools.

New Jersey's Golf in Schools program, which has expanded every year since 2009, has become a model for all 41 PGA sections across the country, and serves as a leading program to support the organization's growth-of-the-game initiatives. The program, which was implemented at 127 schools statewide and affected more than 59,000 students in 2011, will increase by more than 50 percent this year.

"The Golf in Schools program has enjoyed amazing growth over the years, and it is a testament to the dedication of PGA Professionals in the New Jersey PGA Section, as well as a tremendous commitment among physical education teachers at our New Jersey schools who recognize the value of introducing the great game of golf to children," said Gregg Angelillo, president of the New Jersey Golf Foundation.

"The Golf in Schools program has had a positive effect on our Physical Education program in Edison Township, as our teachers and students have fully embraced the program," said Jim Muldowney, District Supervisor, Health and Physical Education, Edison Township Public Schools. "Chris Hunt and his associates at the NJPGA and NJGF have been a pleasure to work with - from their initial presentation through the implementation of the program."

To support this initiative, the NJGF provides each school with an allotment of SNAG ("Starting New at Golf") golf equipment to keep an entire physical education class active and engaged. SNAG Golf offers developmentally appropriate equipment that allows golf to be learned and played in non-traditional venues, such as a school gymnasium. In turn, a select group of PGA professionals from the New Jersey section will visit the schools to train the PE teachers on how to effectively introduce kids to the game and work closely with the teachers to ensure they're comfortable presenting the golf curriculum to students.

As part of the initiative, children participating in the Golf in Schools program, along with their parents or guardians, will have the opportunity to visit a local course/driving range to experience the game outside the gym class setting. This access may include use of the course, the practice range, or both, and gives the participants a true golf experience.

"Many schools participating in the program are located in inner cities, and this program provides these kids with an opportunity to learn many facets of a sport that is enjoyed by tens of millions of people nationwide," noted Angelillo. "If we can make a difference in one kid's life, and inspire them to love this great game, then it's all worth it."

Schools participating in 2012 include elementary and middle schools from the following districts: Elizabeth, Plainfield, Newark, South Brunswick, Paterson, Clifton, Edison, Neptune, Union and Barnegat, among others.

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