Category: News

THE FIRST TEE OF GREATER HOUSTON RECEIVES NATIONAL RECOGNITION FOR COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP AND IMPACT ON LOCAL YOUTH

Houston Golf Association fuels program’s growth and impact for the City of Houston

HOUSTON (November 14, 2017) – The First Tee of Greater Houston, a nonprofit whose mission is to teach children core values, wellness and life skills through the game of golf, was recognized with several prestigious awards at the annual meeting of The First Tee Network. The local chapter took home the following national awards: 

  • Chapter Volunteer Engagement Award – The award recognizes a chapter that is leading the way using innovative techniques to recruit, reward, and retain their volunteers.
  • The Outreach Impact Award – This award recognizes creativity, partnerships and collaborative relationships with school districts and the local community and the extent to which young people have benefited with opportunities to learn and grow through this great life sport as uniquely presented by The First Tee.
  • McGlothlin Award – This award is presented to chapters who are significantly impacting their communities for the better through their fulfillment of The First Tee mission. The chapters represent small, medium and large service areas as determined by youth population size.

Members of The First Tee of Greater Houston team also received individual accolades. Doug Earle, executive director, Brian Ladet, program director and coaches Betsy Harris and Patrick Kisomanga were all honored for their commitment and leadership to growing the program and mentoring youth.

Since 2004, the Houston Golf Association has held the charter for The First Tee of Greater Houston, now the largest of 155 chapters in the worldwide network. Specially trained and passionate coaches, supported by volunteers, guide participants through the The First Tee curriculum helping youth ages 7-18 reach their fullest potential at home, in school and at competitive golf.  Programs take place onsite at schools, as well as ten local area golf courses.

“On behalf of the entire team here in Houston, we are humbled by these awards in doing our life’s passion to make a difference in the lives of youth through a game we all love,” said Doug Earle, executive director of the First Tee of Greater Houston. “What excites us is that our impact on local youth continues to grow significantly. By teaching young people wellness and character development through the game of golf, we are giving them skills that will last a lifetime.”

The First Tee of Greater Houston expansion into communities throughout the City continues to rise, now in 488 local schools, impacting nearly 350,000 youth through its programs in 30 school districts including Houston ISD, Alvin ISD, Brazosport ISD, Crosby ISD, Klein ISD, Cy-Fair ISD, Clear Creek ISD, Conroe ISD, Humble ISD, Aldine ISD, Spring Branch ISD, Fort Bend ISD, Alief ISD, Dickinson ISD, Galena Park ISD, Sheldon ISD, Spring ISD, Stafford MSD, Texas City ISD, Waller ISD, Willis ISD, Pasadena ISD, Huffman ISD, Katy ISD, Deer Park ISD, New Caney ISD, Lamar Consolidated ISD, Tomball ISD, Harris County Department of Education, KIPP School and five private schools. In addition to the volume of schools, The First Tee of Greater Houston also provides instruction and programs through its ten educational facilities, dubbed green grass facilities: Battleground, David Shindeldecker Campus (at Golf Club of Houston), BlackHorse, Quail Valley, F.M. Law Park, Sharpstown, River Plantation, Gus Wortham, Beacon Lakes and Bayou Golf Courses.

The program has flourished due to significant donations from Houston’s PGA TOUR event the Houston Open. Since 1946, the Houston Open, alongside volunteers, has been able to raise $69 million for local organizations—many of which benefit youth programs like The First Tee.

About Houston Golf Association

Founded in 1946, Houston Golf Association and its member volunteers make a difference for Houston communities and their youth through golf, outreach programs, events and fundraising. A not-for-profit, tax exempt 501c (3) organization, Houston Golf Association is host organization to the 10th longest running PGA TOUR event on schedule, the Houston Open, which has played a crucial role in raising more than $69 million for local charities.

Delivering on its promise to make golf accessible to all, Houston Golf Association operates HGA Junior Golf, hosts amateur golf events, works with the City to restore municipal golf courses and amenities, and holds the charter for The First Tee of Greater Houston providing 350,000 local youth with learning facilities and educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values, and promote healthy choices through the game of golf. Go to www.hga.org to learn more or get involved.

Houston Golf Association Membership Updates

At the HGA town hall meeting held on Nov. 2, 2017 at the David Shindeldecker Campus, Steve Timms announced changes to membership as approved by the HGA Board of Directors. The resulting recommendation is to offer a simplified path to membership, with little to no barriers, to help the organization grow and meet the needs of the community through its outreach programs.

All existing HGA members will have the option to renew at three new levels: $100 Annual Membership, $1000 one-time Legacy Membership, or an annual $5000 membership to the Chairman’s Circle. HGA Honorary and Life Members will maintain their status. In order to volunteer for the Houston Open, you must also separately register and pay for tournament uniforms. A notification will prompt your online renewal and registration process early January 2018.

$100 Annual Membership

  • Official golf bag tag
  • Opportunity to become a Houston Open tournament volunteer
  • Member-exclusive offer on discounted Houston Open hospitality tickets
  • Member rate at Gus Wortham Park Golf Course

$1000 Legacy Membership

  • Annual member benefits for life
  • Official memento
  • Recognition in the Houston Open Pairings Guide and Year in Review
  • Invitation to the annual Houston Open volunteer party

Excludes parking, must be Houston Open volunteer to receive uniform and parking

$5000 Chairman’s Circle

  • Life member benefits
  • Chairman’s credential granting access to the Chairman’s Club at the Houston Open and parking
  • Invitation to the annual Houston Open Volunteer Party

Changes to membership were decided based on the extensive evaluation and recommendations of a membership advisory committee comprising of a diverse group of HGA members, including Henry Noey, Chair, Mike Yeager, Darrell James, Veronica Levet, Cory Miller, Ben Beverly, Michael Sandeen, Rob Hungate and Meg Leechman.

The ultimate goal of the new path to membership is to create more opportunities for youth and communities to benefit from golf.  Please direct questions to jdurbin@hga.org.

Buzz Baker wins the 2017 Greater Houston Senior City Am Championship

By Richard Dean

Buzz Baker vividly remembers the 3 ½-foot putt he missed in a 2007 playoff on the 18th green at Memorial Park Golf Course that denied him an opportunity to win the men’s city amateur championship.

On Sunday, on the same green and facing a putt of similar distance on the same side of the hole, Baker sealed the deal to capture the 2017 Greater Houston Senior City Amateur Championship.

“Close to the same putt I missed 10 years ago and I wasn’t going to miss it this time,” said the 55-year-old Baker, who was eligible for the senior tournament this year for the first time.

Actually Baker’s lead was substantial enough that he could have missed that final putt on the No. 18 hole and won easily. Baker shot a final-round 5-under-par 67 on Sunday for a 5-under-par 211 to win the 54-hole tournament by 5 shots over runner-up Gary Durbin, who was at even-par 216.

Scott Smith finished third at 1-over-par 217 and Hunter Nelson was fourth at 2-over-par 218 in the tournament conducted by the Houston Golf Association.

Baker broke from the pack atop the leaderboard and distanced himself from the contenders with four consecutive birdies on holes 14-17.

“It’s very humbling,” said Baker, a mortgage banker for Houston-based Network Funding, LP. “Great people out here, kind of the same fraternity of guys over the years. A bunch of great people. I’m usually happy for the other guys so it’s really nice to be on the receiving end for once.”

Durbin, Nelson and Marshall Piper were all tied at 2-under going into Sunday’s final round. At the conclusion of the round, Piper was assessed a 4-shot penalty for having 15 clubs in his bag. With the penalty, Piper was at 4-over-par 220, and a share of seventh place.

Durbin, who won this event in 2012 and is a two-time Houston city am winner, shot rounds of 70-72-74.

“I’m very pleased with the second-place finish,” said the 60-year-old Durbin, an All-America golfer at Penn State in 1979. “When you’re leading, you’d like to finish it off. Today was an opportunity to win the senior twice.”

The tournament was close until the final five holes. Baker was playing two groups ahead of the final twosome of Durbin and Piper, who opened Friday’s first round with a 69. And then the ever-popular Baker turned up the heat.

“I hit a good drive on 13 and didn’t birdie 13,” Baker said. “So I said, ‘Gosh, we’re going to have to birdie the hard ones.’“

On the 14th hole, Baker hit his approach about 6 feet above the hole. On 15 and 16 respectively, he placed his approach shots about 18 inches and 10 inches from the hole. And his uncanny shot making continued when the former Stephen F. Austin golfer’s second shot on No. 17 stopped 6 feet of the pin.

“Catching Buzz was tough duty today,” said Smith, who had rounds of 75-69-73. “That’s awesome to bear down and get it done. It’s awesome to be in the moment and actually perform and get it done. That’s exceptional. That’s impressive.”

Baker, who plays out of Shadow Hawk Golf Club, carded rounds of 71-73-67.

“Buzz has been a very good, long-time amateur here,” said Durbin, a deputy chief commercial officer of TMK IPSCO, a global steel pipe company, and who plays out of Champions Golf Club. “Very good player, very steady.

“He got it going. At Memorial, the greens are so good, you can make some putts here. You just have to be hitting the ball well. Today, 5-under is very strong. It was the toughest day to score.”

Baker is a popular player among the amateur golfers in the Houston area. Other golfers were complimentary of Baker’s round and were sincerely happy for him in his prestigious win.

“He’s a fine man and he’s a great guy and everybody likes him,” said the 58-year-old Smith, who is retired from the oil and gas business, and plays out of Northgate Country Club. “He’s a good player, so I’m pleased for him.

“Houston is a very tough place to compete. Whether it’s the city am or trying to qualify for a USGA event. It’s tough. There are a number of good players in Houston.”

Chuck Reeve Wins Super Senior, Three Tied for Final Round Greater Houston Senior City Amateur

Three players are tied for the lead at two-under par going into the final round of the the 2017 Greater Houston Senior City Amateur Championship. There is sure to be a shoot out on Sunday when 2012 champion Gary Durbin (70-72), Marshall Piper (69-73) and Hunter Nelson (69-73) tee it off at Memorial Park Golf Course. Scott Smith and Buzz Baker still in contention as they enter the final round tied for 4th at even par.

In the Super Senior division, Chuck Reeve from Houston wins the 2017 Greater Houston Super Senior City Amateur Championship. Chuck defeated Gordon Norwood on the first playoff hole.  After finishing their final rounds at even par, Reeve defeated Gordon Norwood on the first playoff hole. The top two battled each other and the tough rough at Memorial Park Golf Course for 37 holes.  David Leestma from Seabrook finished in third with a two-day total 145.

View full leaderboard and results here. 

 

 

 

 

Round 1 of the Greater Houston Senior City Amateur Championship

Round 1 of the Greater Houston Senior City Amateur Championship at Memorial Park Golf Course is complete. Four players are currently in the lead with four-under par 69’s.  Gary Durbin, 2012 Champion, lurks one back after an opening round of 70. In the Super Senior division, four tied for the lead at the halfway point at even par 72.
 
Senior Leaderboard
T1: Hunter Nelson/ Lee Williams/ Marshall Piper/ David Leiss  69
5: Gary Durbin 70
Super Senior Leaderboard
T1: Gordon Norwood, Chuck Reeve, Don Fanning, Gary Hagstrom  72
 

Devaughn Robinson Clinches Victory at 2017 Greater Houston City Amateur Championship

By Richard Dean
Over the years, the Houston city amateur has had its share of exciting finishes. The 2017 tournament was much the same. Thanks in part to Devaughn Robinson, who is a worthy champion. Especially after what he pulled off on the first playoff hole at Memorial Park Golf Course on Sunday.
After hitting his tee shot out of bounds on the par-5 No. 1 hole, Robinson somehow found a way to win the hole and playoff over Justin Kaplan and capture the Greater Houston City Amateur Championship. Robinson scrambled to make par on the extra hole by making a 25-foot putt. The 29-year-old former Texas Southern University golfer then secured the coveted championship after Kaplan bogeyed the hole.
“It was fun for me, but bad for Justin,” said Robinson, winner of the 2016 Bahamas national amateur. “He played a phenomenal tournament from start to finish. And to beat him made it that much more special, because he’s a great player.”
There was great golf displayed over the four-round, three-day tournament, conducted by the Houston Golf Association. Robinson and Kaplan finished 72 holes tied at 10-under-par-274. Matt Van Zandt, who won this event in 2015, finished 9-under, just missing the playoff after bogeying the final hole.
Kaplan, who played college golf at Minnesota and the University of Houston, was on his game all weekend. He led after each of the first three rounds and took a 2-shot advantage going into Sunday afternoon’s final round over Robinson, who shot a third-round 65 in Sunday’s morning session.
“It was a great week,” Kaplan said. “I wanted to win and I put myself in good position. I’m a little disappointed, but a fun week.”
Victory was in Kaplan’s grasp. And things looked real good for Kaplan and bleak for Robinson, when Robinson pushed his tee shot on the first playoff hole, basically spotting Kaplan 2 shots.
Robinson’s errant drive hit the right-side cart path, took a big bounce, and landed 10 yards into the woods.
“I hit the cart path and I knew for sure, that’s gone,” Robinson said. “I just said, ‘Go make 5. Hit it down there and go make 5 and see what happens.’ And it worked out.”
The shot that set the foundation for Robinson’s comeback in the playoff, was from 230 yards using a 3-iron. That led to his make on the 25-foot putt that had 6-7 feet of break. Robinson hit it dead center.
“There was no other way to hit the putt,” Robinson said. “You had to hit it perfectly.”
Kaplan was impressed by the pressure putt made by Robinson. Which turned out to be the winning putt.
“It had to have had five feet of break, right to left,” said Kaplan, who plays out of The Club at Carlton Woods. “He hit an incredible putt. Perfect speed.”
After Robinson drained his putt, Kaplan still had a chance to win. But his birdie putt ran 4 feet past the hole, and Kaplan missed for par on the way back, making Robinson the winner.
“I knew I needed to two-putt to go to the next hole, but in that situation, I’m trying to win,” Kaplan said. “It was a tough putt, straight downhill, right to left, and I pushed it a little bit and hit it a little firmer than I liked. And I didn’t make the comebacker.”
Robinson shot rounds of 69-69-65-71. Kaplan had rounds of 65-68-73-68. Van Zandt carded 67-69-70-69.
In Sunday’s final round, it was clear that only Robinson, Kaplan and Van Zandt had a chance to win the tournament. Robinson, playing one group ahead of Kaplan and Van Zandt in the final twosome, was at 11-under before making bogey at No. 17. By dropping a shot, Robinson fell into a three-way share of the lead at 10-under with Kaplan and Van Zandt, who won the 2014 Carlton Woods Invitational.
“I scrambled well all week,” said the 31-year-old Van Zandt, who won a high school state championship at Elkins and was a member of Texas A&M’s 2009 national championship team. “That’s what ended up hurting me on the last hole. My full swing wasn’t very good. I putted really well. That’s what kept me in it.
“Overall, it was a fun tournament. This is the best tournament around. I’m really excited for Kaplan and Devaughn.”

Justin Kaplan Holds on to the Lead Going into Final Day

Justin Kaplan continued his strong play in round two. He followed up his bogey free 65 with a second round 68 which included five birdies.  The 2015 Greater Houston City Amateur champion  Matt Van Zandt also kept his impressive play going and remains in second after a second round 69, which included an eagle and three birdies. Devaughn Robinson and Chris Causey are lurking back in third and fourth place respectively.

The final day concludes today with rounds three and four and is sure to provide a great shootout. Follow live scoring here.

 

Justin Kaplan takes the lead after round one at Greater Houston Men’s Amateur

Justin Kaplan shot 6-under par to take at two-stroke lead over 2015 Champion Matt Van Zandt at the Greater Houston Men’s Amateur at Memorial Park Golf Course. A.J. Vesey and Devaughn Robinson of Houston both shot 69. Todd Albert of Katy, Nick Marlow, Chris Causey, Jess Bonneau, and former Houston Golf Association Junior Golfer and 2017 Eddie Burke Senior Young Houstonian champion Henry Fisher all carded a one-under, 70.

The field of 144 will be cut to the low 40 scorers and ties after Saturday’s second round to set the stage for a 36-hole finale on Sunday.

Houston Golf Association Pledges to Support KPRC Red Cross Fund

Our hearts go out to all who have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Houston Golf Association pledges $50,000 to the KPRC Red Cross fund to support ongoing relief efforts. Giving back is at the core of the volunteer members of the Houston Golf Association and we will continue to look for ways to help Houston communities as our resilient city begins the work to come back better than ever.

Houston resident Chris Stroud joins PGA TOUR in announcing support for Hurricane Harvey Relief

Fans, players, tournaments can help flood victims at Dell Technologies Championship and via “Together, anything’s possible”

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, and Norton, Massachusetts (August 30, 2017)  – PGA TOUR professional and Houston resident Chris Stroud led an announcement today from the TOUR’s Dell Technologies Championship, pledging support for those affected by Hurricane Harvey and the resulting flooding.  Stroud committed $10,000 toward the relief efforts and plans to add an additional 10 percent of his earnings from this week’s event.  TOUR players, fans and tournaments can further assist the American Red Cross through PGA TOUR Charities’ Together, anything’s possible platform.  Additionally, fans on site at this week’s event in Norton, Massachusetts – where players will wear red, white and blue ribbons (colors of the Texas flag) to raise awareness – can donate via kiosks in the Dell Technologies Championship Fan Experience.  Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast on Friday, August 25, and torrential rainfall has submerged thousands of homes and forced unprecedented evacuations.

“It has been a tough week, but in some ways a very rewarding week,” said Stroud.  He is one of the more than 30 players on the PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR Champions and Web.com Tour who live in the Houston community, and the area is also home to the PGA TOUR’s Houston Open and the Insperity Invitational on PGA TOUR Champions. “To see all the people and organizations around the country eager to pitch in and help is inspiring.  I hope the efforts of the PGA TOUR and my fellow players will spur more people to join in and help make a difference to those who are in need.”

Fans wishing to assist in the relief and recovery efforts can stop by the Dell Technologies Championship Fan Experience, or by making donations through PGA TOUR Charities’ “Together, anything’s possible” website by clicking on the red GIVE button. Starting on August 30, all donations via the site will be distributed to American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey Relief. Additionally, fans can make donations directly through the American Red Cross by visiting www.redcross.org or by texting HARVEY to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

“Our thoughts are with all of those impacted by this terrible storm and flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan, who pledged $250,000 on behalf of the TOUR to the American Red Cross. “We hope our collective efforts help bring comfort and aid to the victims and that it will spur our players, tournaments and fans to join the cause and help out.”

“Thanks to the generosity of the PGA TOUR and its partners, the Red Cross will be able to continue to provide our needed services to those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Currently, Red Cross is focusing on providing safe shelter and feeding people. After the storm passes, we will be offering emotional support, health services, and distributing emergency relief supplies such as comfort kits and cleaning supplies. Red Cross plays a critical role in helping families and communities get back on their feet and we are very grateful for PGA TOUR’s support,” said Anna Trefethen, Vice President Humanitarian Services Southeast & Caribbean Division.

About Together, anything’s possible 

Together, anything’s possible, is the PGA TOUR’s charity platform that brings together all of the TOUR’s stakeholders – players, tournaments and sponsors, volunteers, charities and fans – to tell the story of the tremendous impact that their collective efforts are having on communities throughout the world.

Since the first donation of $10,000 was made in 1938, PGA TOUR events have generated significant funds for local charities.  In fact, the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour and Web.com Tour have surpassed the $2.46 billion mark in overall charitable contributions.

To learn more about tournament and player charities and how to donate to these causes, visit the PGA TOUR’s charity web site at www.pgatour.com/together.

Houston Golf Association Re-Elects Board Chair and Officers; Names General Chair for 2018 Houston Open

HOUSTON (August 8, 2017) – Houston Golf Association held its annual election meeting at the Dick Harmon Learning Center on August 7, 2017 and announced new and returning members to its board of directors. Meg Leachman, who served as board chair in 2017, will serve a second term as board chair for 2017-2018. Re-elected for a second term were board officers John O. Armour, Jeff Miers and Michael Sandeen. Mike Yeager will serve a second year as general chair of the 2018 Houston Open. Long-time HGA members Rob Hungate and Henry Noey were elected to the board. For a complete listing of the 2017-2018 board of directors, click here.

Steve Timms is the president and CEO of Houston Golf Association and oversees the day-to-day operations of the organization and the Houston Golf Association employees.

Houston Golf Association

For 70 years, Houston Golf Association has organized high-profile professional and amateur golf events in the Greater Houston area to support its mission to make a difference in Houston and in the lives of youth through its charitable programs. The HGA, a not-for-profit, tax exempt 501c (3) organization, is a prolific charitable fundraiser, bolstered by a strong group of members and volunteers. Visit www.hga.org for more information.

Alberto & Jones Win Boys & Girls Greater Houston City Junior Title

By Richard Dean
Leah Alberto turned in an awesome display of golf on Thursday. And Zakary Jones and Jzeke Dukes had a match worth remembering, going down to the final hole.
There was great golf being played at Memorial Park Golf Course as champions were determined and trophies awarded in the Greater Houston City Jr. Match Play Championship.
Alberto breezed past defending champion Zoe Slaughter 7 & 6 in the girls final. Jones finally got the best of Dukes, taking the lead on the 17th hole en route to a 1 up win that left both players praising the other.
“Coming down with Jzeke, that was really a fun match to finish,” said Jones, who placed third here at last year’s tournament. “Jzeke’s a great guy. He gave me good competition, he was fired up when he won a hole.”
Alberto, a 16-year-old junior at Kingwood Park, played her best competitive round ever.
A fourth-seed, the championship match was dominated from the beginning by Alberto, who was 6 up at the turn and closed out her match on hole No. 12 with a par. Alberto, who unofficially shot a front-nine 31, birdied the final four holes on the front nine.
“I just tried to make birdies so she couldn’t catch me or beat me,” said Alberto, who placed third on this course in last month’s Eddie Burke Sr. Young Houstonian. “I knew that she was a really good player.”
Beating a player as good as the 15-year-old Slaughter is one thing. But to win 7 & 6, that’s amazing.
“It surprised me. I don’t know how I did it,” said Alberto, who won a HGA Performance Series Event in June at Eagle Pointe Golf Club. “I thought it was going to be a lot closer.”
It definitely was close between ninth-seed Dukes and third-seed Jones, who shot a bogey-free 69 in Monday’s stroke play.
Thursday’s afternoon championship match featured two outstanding players. Jones, a 17-year-old at Klein Collins, was 3 up through four holes and still 2 up through nine holes, before Dukes turned up the heat, going 1 up. But a tee ball into the water on the par-3 15th hole squared the match, and Jones went 1 up on No. 17 with par before both players made par on No. 18.
“It feels phenomenal (to win),” said Jones, who won his Thursday morning semifinal match 4 & 2 over Sean Cleland. “It’s great.”
This is one of the biggest wins for Jones, who has played competitive golf since age 7 and is committed to Texas-Arlington.
“Just because its match play,” Jones said. “It’s a lot different aspect of the game. Different mindset, definitely a different game. A really good week for me.”
It was also a good week for Dukes, who at one point in the championship match on the back nine won four of five holes.
“I felt very comfortable on the golf course,” said Dukes, who played 118 holes this week. “Not once did I feel like I’m out of it. Even when I was down, I was still pushing.
“It was a great week, it was a great experience. And I got a lot farther than I did last year (lost in round of 32).
Dukes, who plays out of Memorial Park and Golf Club of Houston, won his Thursday morning semifinal match over Vishnu Sadagopan, 2 & 1. Dukes, the ninth seed, made a 20-foot birdie putt that won the 17th hole to close out the 29th-seed Sadagopan, a 15-year-old sophomore at Shadow Creek who defeated Cleland to win Thursday’s consolation match for third place.
Against Sadagopan, Dukes, a 17-year-old who attends Lamar High School, was 2 down through two holes. They made the turn all square and Dukes didn’t secure the win until he drained a 30-foot match-clinching birdie putt on No. 17.
In two Performance Series events this summer, Dukes has a second (River Ridge) and third (Cypress Lakes).
In reaching the championship match, Alberto eliminated Katie Shepherd 2 up, Jacqueline Nguyen 1 up and Allyn Stephens 2 & 1.
“It was a tough fight getting to the final round,” Alberto said.
The four-day junior golf tournament was conducted by the Houston Golf Association.

Slaughter Defends Her Title at the Greater Houston City Junior Match-Play Championship

By Richard Dean
If you’ve seen Zoe Slaughter swing a golf club you may be of the opinion that she has the perfect swing. And you would be right.
At least Chris Stroud thinks so. That’s what he told the rising star when Slaughter and two other young golfers played on the same team as the PGA Tour player in this year’s Houston Open Pro/Junior.
“He was telling me that I’m the best junior golfer he’s ever seen, and that was a huge compliment,” Slaughter said. “I was shocked. I was like, really? That was crazy. He was telling me that I could go far, I could be No. 1 in the world.”
She’s not there yet. But the 15-year-old sophomore from Memorial High School is making her mark on the local golf scene. On Wednesday, Slaughter advanced to the championship of the Greater Houston City Jr. Match Play Championships, a tournament she won a year ago.
Slaughter, the No. 7 seed, eliminated Kiona Hsiu 3 & 2 in the semifinals and will oppose fourth-seed Leah Alberto on Thursday in the championship match of the girls division at Memorial Park.
“Tomorrow is going to be tough,” Slaughter said. “But I’m going to try my best to get the win. This is my home course.”
In last year’s championship match, Slaughter defeated Tiffany Nguyen. It was Nguyen that Slaughter defeated 2 & 1 on Wednesday to reach the semifinals. Both Slaughter and Nguyen played great golf on Wednesday. Slaughter was 2-under and Nguyen 1-under.
“Today was very tough,” said Slaughter. “I had very tough partners both rounds, but I ended up playing well.”
In the boys division, No. 29 seed Vishnu Sadagopan will play ninth-seed Jzeke Dukes in one semifinal and No. 31 Sean Cleland will oppose third-seed Zakary Jones of Klein Collins in another semifinal. Both Dukes and Cleland attend Lamar High School.
Thursday’s championship match will highlight the four-day tournament, conducted by the Houston Golf Association.
The top seeds in both the boys and girls divisions were beaten on Wednesday in the morning round. The No. 1 girls qualifier Natalie Cao of Sugar Land lost 2 & 1 to ninth-seed Allyn Stephens in the round of 8. Jason Bryant made birdie on the final hole to beat the boys’ top-seed Junior Hernandez 1 up in the round of 16.
No golfer has been beating the competition quite like Sadagopan, who had posted wins of 5 & 4, 4 & 3 and 6 & 5 before rallying from 2 down to beat fifth-seed Grant Lincecum 3 & 1 in the round of 8 on Wednesday afternoon.
Sadagopan was 2 down through the first five holes against Lincecum and was still 2 down on the back nine before winning holes 15 and 16 with par and birdie respectively to make the match dormie.
“It was a great experience,” said the 15-year-old Sadagopan, who is a sophomore at Shadow Creek High School. “Every junior golfer should try to play this event. It’s an awesome experience. We rarely experience match play, so every opportunity I get, I just love match play. Head to head.”
Sadagopan is a seven-time player of the year in the U.S. Kids local tour in Houston and last year was player of the year on the Legends Junior Tour. He’s been dominating his opponents this week.
“Everything’s been trending,” Sadagopan said. “I haven’t played well since May, but everything’s starting to flow in the right direction.
“I figured sometime this was going to happen. And then I didn’t play well in (Monday’s) seeding. I was bummed out, then I got on a run. Match play brings out everything in me. I need to learn from this, to play like this in stroke play.”
In Wednesday’s round of 16, Sadagopan played extremely well, missing only two greens in regulation in eliminating Jackson Murff 6 & 5.
In the semifinals, Sadagopan gets to play with one of his good friends in Dukes, who he has known since he was 9-years-old.
“That should be a whole lot of fun,” Sadagopan said.

Matches Begin At the Greater Houston City Junior Match-Play Championship

By Richard Dean

Jason Bryant was down but not beaten. The 16-year-old from Barbers Hill High School was facing elimination on Tuesday at the Greater Houston City Jr. Match Play Championship, being 2 down with two holes to play.

“The nerves were kicking in, I love the feeling,” Bryant said. “Pressure is what I live for. I was ready to play.”

Bryant won both the 17 and 18 hole at Memorial Park Golf Course to square the match with Maxwell Martinez, before closing out the round of 32 match in 22 holes with a par on the fourth extra hole. And this after Bryant was 3 down through nine holes.

“I never throw in the towel,” said Bryant, who plays out of Eagle Pointe Golf Club. “No matter how far down. This feels amazing, outstanding. I’m ready to play (Wednesday).”

A year ago Bryant lost in this event in the first round. His win in Tuesday’s round of 32 is more gratifying by the way he came from behind.

“I love those kind of moments,” Bryant said. “You can’t give up, you just got to fight for it. That’s what I like doing.”

Bryant, who won 3 & 2 in Tuesday’s earlier round of 64 over Scott Schuster, advances to the round of 16 on Wednesday to face No. 1-seed Junior Hernandez of Clements, who needed 20 holes to beat a game Klein Collins’ Ryan Morant, who made the shot of the day.

Morant holed out from 128 yards using a pitching wedge for an eagle on the 18th hole when he was 1 down, forcing extra holes.

“A fight all the way to the end,” said Hernandez, who earned one of six byes in the round of 64 after shooting a 5-under-par 67 in Monday’s stroke play that determined the seeding for match play.

In a round of 32 match that featured two youngsters, Carson Ezell of The Woodlands, who turned 14 last week, eliminated Kingwood High School’s Damin Strydom, 1 up. Two months ago Strydom won the Class 6A Region III individual championship at Eagle Pointe as a freshman.

“Feels pretty good,” said Ezell, who was 2 down through seven holes. “It was a tough match. I had a good match on the back (nine). We had a good time.”

This is the second time Ezell has played in this tournament. “Last year when I played I was 12-years-old,” Ezell said. “And so everything was a little too long, but I think I lost 1 down on (hole) 18 to a 17-year-old.”

In Wednesday’s round of 16, Ezell will play fifth-seed Grant Lincecum, who won in 21 holes over Tyler Cushing.

While competing in the HGA Performance Series’ 12-14 age division, Ezell dominated. Ezell has won several times on the Legends Tour and is starting to play more AJGA events.

While Ezell has flourished in junior golf, Christian Rodriguez didn’t begin playing golf until two years ago. In Monday’s stroke play, the 16-year-old from Waltrip shot a 3-under-par 69, tying Zakary Jones of Klein Collins for the second-lowest round.

Rodriguez earned a bye in Tuesday’s round of 64, but lost 2 down to Sean Cleland in the round of 32, despite being 3 up at one point. Although he was eliminated on Tuesday, Rodriguez sees positives in his golf game as he’s come a long way in a short period of time.

“I played baseball my whole life until my freshman year in high school,” Rodriguez said. “I feel I’m as good as anyone else out here as a golfer.”

In the girls division of match play, the top two seeds advanced. No. 1-seed Natalie Cao of Sugar Land won her round of 16 match over Reagan Gray 3 & 2. No. 2-seed Tiffany Nguyen won 4 & 3 over Minji Kim. The 14th seed, Casey Kung, eliminated third-seed Nadia Davila in 21 holes.

 

Hernandez Takes Number One Seed at Greater Houston City Junior Championship

By Richard Dean

HOUSTON, TX (July 18, 2017) – Junior Hernandez has been on the radar for some time. The junior golfer was ranked No. 1 in Texas in 2012-13, winning a STPGA Championship during that period.

A senior at Clements High School, Hernandez’s golf game is still progressing. On Monday at Memorial Park Golf Club, Hernandez’s 5-under-par 67 was the lowest score in the 18-hole stroke-play portion of the Greater Houston City Jr. Match Play Championship, conducted by the Houston Golf Association.

“I had one game plan today, just hit fairways and greens,” said the 17-year-old Hernandez, whose five birdies and eagle on the par-5 No. 8 hole offset two bogeys. “I went out there, birdied the first hole. I can’t complain. And after that, I just started rolling the rock (ball). Birdie after birdie. I had to come out strong the first day.”

Trailing Hernandez’s 67 were a pair of 69s shot by 17-year-old Zakary Jones of Klein Collins High School and 16-year-old Christian Rodriguez of Houston. The top seed for match play among the girls is 14-year-old Natalie Cao of Sugar Land, who carded a 73, one shot ahead of Nadia Davila of Houston and Tiffany Nguyen of Houston.

Hernandez, who was wearing an LSU cap during the round, is the top seed for the match-play portion, which begins on Tuesday. The lowest five scores for the boys received byes in Tuesday’s morning session, which will be followed by an afternoon session. The boys and girls championship matches will be played on Thursday.

Hernandez said it means a lot to be the stroke-play champion of such a prestigious tournament.

“I feel I have a lot of confidence going into match play,” said Hernandez, whose swing coach is Clay Edwards of Houston. “And hopefully I transition from today to tomorrow and the rest of the week. I feel confident. I just got to stick to my game and see where it goes from there.”

A year ago, Jones, who has played 10 competitive rounds at Memorial Park, qualified 57th at this event after stroke play and turned it on in match play, finishing third.

“It was a good comeback,” said Jones. “I’ll have probably a little bit easier match (Tuesday) than my first match last year.”

Jones’ 69 on Monday on Memorial Park’s 6,894-yard, par-72 layout is his first bogey-free round. Ever. Even the 65 he shot two summers ago at Victoria Country Club included a bogey with his eight birdies.

Following his round on Monday, Jones was beaming about his no-bogey round.

“It feels great,” said Jones, whose ball striking was spot-on in earning a first-round bye in the opening round of match play. Jones hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation, a remarkable achievement. “A lot of greens, putted pretty well. My proximity to the hole wasn’t great, but I was able to roll a few in.”

Hernandez opened with a front-nine 35 followed by a back-nine 32. Last month on this course playing in the Young Houstonian, Hernandez finished third with a final-round 66.

“This summer’s been good,” said Hernandez, who qualified for the Class 6A high school state tournament in May by earning one of three Individual spots in regional qualifying in April at Eagle Pointe Golf Club.

Cao is also having a superb summer on the course playing in HGA events. She won at Sterling Country Club and placed second at Eagle Pointe and Cypress Lakes.

LOCAL TEEN SELECTED TO COMPETE AT NATIONALLY TELEVISED PRO-JUNIOR EVENT, PURE INSURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP AT PEBBLE BEACH

LOCAL TEEN SELECTED TO COMPETE AT NATIONALLY TELEVISED PRO-JUNIOR EVENT, PURE INSURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP AT PEBBLE BEACH

Bellaire Junior and The First Tee of Greater Houston Participant, Eunice Bao, joins the 2017 field  

HUMBLE, TX (July 7, 2017) – Golf Channel and The First Tee announced the names of the 81 junior players competing in this year’s Pure Insurance Championship at Pebble Beach, Sept. 22-24. Eunice Bao, a ten-year participant of The First Tee of Greater Houston, is joining a field of junior golfers from across the country.

Internationally televised on the Golf Channel, the newly-named Pure Insurance  Championship, now in its 14thyear, will continue to bring together the legends of the game alongside top juniors from The First Tee. The tournament is an official PGA TOUR Champions event, the first of its kind, in which junior golfers from The First Tee play alongside PGA TOUR Champions players as well as amateurs. They compete for the pro-junior title at the legendary Pebble Beach Golf Links and Poppy Hills Golf Course.

Eunice Bao is 15 and an incoming junior at Bellaire High School. Her family moved to the Houston area from China in 2007. Soon after, Eunice and her sister, Ariel, joined The First Tee local chapter and attended classes at F.M. Law Park. Eunice is her American name; her birth name is Yuliang Bao.

“It is so exciting for Eunice to receive this recognition and have the opportunity to play at Pebble Beach with some of the legends of the game,” said Doug Earle, executive director, The First Tee of Greater Houston. “Her coaches at F.M. Law Park are proud of how hard she has worked to reach her goals and have enjoyed seeing her grow in the sport.”

Houston Golf Association holds the charter for The First Tee of Greater Houston, which is one of 165 chapters around the country. Serving the Houston community since 2004, more than a million local youth have been impacted through chapter programs. The golf-based programs are delivered through elementary schools, nine green grass facilities and other youth organizations like the YMCA. The curriculum is focused on helping participants build character through The First Tee Nine Core Values: honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment.

To request an interview or photos of Eunice Bao, please contact Amanda Hansen at ahansen@hga.org or 281-459-8702. 

About The First Tee of Greater Houston

The First Tee of Greater Houston has been operating under the Houston Golf Association since 2004. The Houston chapter has expanded its reach into 461 area elementary schools and nine green grass facilities. More than 300,000 Houston-area youth benefit annually from the organization’s learning facilities and educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf. Visit www.thefirstteegreaterhouston.org for more information.

Houston Golf Association to Begin Renovation of Historic Gus Wortham Park Golf Course

HOUSTON, TX (JANUARY 20, 2017) – Houston Golf Association (HGA) announced that phase one construction of the historic Gus Wortham Park Golf Course renovation will begin following a groundbreaking ceremony, Friday, Jan. 20 at 11:30 a.m.. Located off of Wayside, near Lawndale, Gus Wortham Park Golf Course will close to undergo a renovation bringing the golf course up to modern standards while preserving its historic design.

On Dec. 31 2015, Houston Golf Association was awarded operations of the facility through a contract with the City of Houston. After working through mutually agreed upon operational transition, the HGA commenced management and maintenance responsibility of Gus Wortham Park Golf Course on Feb. 22, 2016 to operate the facility as 501(c)(3) non-profit self supporting enterprise. Under this structure, the HGA raises private funds for renovation and upgrading of facilities, as well as, reinvestment of cash flow for sustaining facility quality. It is through private funds and support from corporate partners that the Houston Golf Association begins renovation construction of the 108-year old golf course. A campaign is currently underway to initiate construction of phase two, which includes a new clubhouse and community center, educational space for local youth participating in The First Tee of Greater Houston, as well as maintenance and cart storage facilities.

“I’m excited to see HGA begin the renovation of Gus Wortham and restore the course to its former glory,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner.  “Once complete, the course and the scope of the overall project, will bring first-class amenities to the East End neighborhood and surrounding communities, while preserving an important legacy in Houston’s remarkable history.”

Situated along Brays Bayou and east of downtown, the Gus Wortham Park Golf Course continues to be an attraction for golfers since the early 1900s, when it was the Houston Country Club. The golf course has been played by many legends in golf including Francis Ouimet and Bobby Jones. All improvements to the 150-acre site will be performed with natural resource sustainability as an overarching principle. Phase one of the golf course renovation will overhaul the irrigation system for better water conservation, add a new irrigation lake for storm water retention, and reestablish creek banks while preserving the uniqueness and beauty of the original design.

“Working alongside the Houston Golf Association, we were able to ensure that the community’s needs were met and enhanced by this exciting restoration project,” said City Council Member Robert Gallegos, who represents the East End. “Gus Wortham is a jewel in our community that has the potential to offer not only a great golfing experience, but serve as a permanent home for a The First Tee youth development and enrichment program serving children in our area.”

Houston Golf Association worked with Council Member Gallegos to accommodate community amenities, including a trail connector, dog park, b-cycle station and space for community gatherings.

“Golf is a sport that can be enjoyed by everyone,” said Steve Timms, president of the Houston Golf Association and The First Tee of Greater Houston. “The renovation of Gus Wortham, along with our continued efforts to reinvest back into our neighborhoods by improving public golf courses, helps the HGA further our mission to grow the game, at every age. It is our hope that the impact of our work will be felt for generations to come.”

The impact of the restoration of the Gus Wortham Park Golf Course will enhance quality of life for residents with a best-in-class recreational amenity, be a catalyst for economic development in the East End, and provide expanded educational opportunities for local area youth through programming by the HGA’s wholly-owned subsidiary The First Tee of Greater Houston.

The Houston Golf Association is working with golf course architect Baxter Spann of Finger Dye Spann on the project. Construction on the golf course begins immediately. Estimated completion of phase one is late 2017.

For a gallery of golf course images and more information about the project, visit  GusWortham.org or call 281-454-7000.


About Houston Golf Association

Since 1946, The Houston Golf Association has existed to make a difference in Houston communities and in the lives of our youth through golf and charity. An essential part of its impact is the Municipal Golf Initiative, which upgrades public golf facilities, beautifies green spaces, and creates a place to mentor youth through The First Tee of Great Houston program. With nearly 300,000 children benefitting already, these programs are a resounding success for the future of Houston. For more information go to hga.org.

 

Shell Houston Open Volunteer Registration Opens Jan. 13

2017 Shell Houston Open volunteer registration opens today, January 13 at 12 p.m. All past volunteers will receive an email with updated usernames/passwords and a link to the site to register. For more information visit shellhoustonopen.com/volunteers.

THE FIRST TEE® OF GREATER HOUSTON EXPANDS TO SERVE THOUSANDS MORE NEW STUDENTS, ADDS MORE SCHOOLS

HOUSTON, TX (December 5, 2016) – The Houston Golf Association is expanding The First Tee of Greater Houston to better serve the Houston community. The First Tee, a nonprofit whose mission is to teach children core values, wellness and life skills through the game of golf, announces the addition of 38 new schools in its National School Program (NSP) beginning this semester and the addition of a new green grass facility at Battleground Golf Course in Deer Park. With this expansion, funded by the Houston Golf Association with proceeds from the Shell Houston Open and the new PGA TOUR Superstore, the Greater Houston chapter will serve the largest number of youth in The First Tee’s worldwide network.

Since 2004, the Houston Golf Association has held the charter for The First Tee of Greater Houston. By providing learning facilities and educational programs that build character, The First Tee enables students to develop skills including sportsmanship, respect and confidence while learning the game of golf. Programs take place onsite at schools as well as at, now, nine green grass facilities: Battleground, David Shindeldecker Campus (at Golf Club of Houston), Blackhorse, Quail Valley, F.M. Law Park, Sharpstown, River Plantation, Gus Wortham and Beacon Lakes Golf Courses.

The First Tee of Greater Houston serves 455 local schools and impacts more than 300,000 youth through its programs. By spring 2017, that number will grow to include an additional 26,000 students. New school districts joining the program include Alvin ISD, Brazosport ISD and Klein ISD. They join school districts already represented in the program including: Cy-­Fair ISD, Clear Creek ISD, Conroe ISD, Crosby ISD, Humble ISD, Aldine ISD, Spring Branch ISD, Houston ISD, Fort Bend ISD, Alief ISD, Dickinson ISD, Galena Park ISD, Sheldon ISD, Spring ISD, Stafford MSD, Texas City ISD, Waller ISD, Willis ISD, Pasadena ISD, Huffman ISD, Katy ISD, Deer Park ISD, Pearland ISD, KIPP, New Caney ISD, Harris County Department of Education, and three private schools. In addition to the volume of schools, The First Tee of Greater Houston is expanding its green grass locations. Projections for 2017 forecast two new green grass sites throughout the year, bringing the total number from nine to 11.

“Thanks to the proceeds raised through the Shell Houston Open, new corporate partners and donors, we are able to expand our program into many new school districts in the Greater Houston area,” said Doug Earle, executive director of The First Tee of Greater Houston. “What excites us is that our impact on local youth is growing significantly. By teaching them wellness and character development through the game of golf, we are giving them skills that will last a lifetime.”

The program has flourished due to significant donations from the Shell Houston Open, in partnership with the Houston Golf Association. Since 1974, the two organizations, alongside volunteers, have been able to raise $64 million for local organizations—many of which benefit youth programs like The First Tee.

“Every year, we view our growth of the Shell Houston Open akin to investing back into the city of Houston and its surrounding communities,” said Steve Timms, president and CEO of the Houston Golf Association, president and CEO of The First Tee of Greater Houston and tournament director of the Shell Houston Open. “The Shell Houston Open continues to raise millions of dollars to support programs that are educating our future leaders and giving thousands of children a chance at a brighter future.”

The Shell Houston Open, the 10th longest running tournament on the PGA TOUR, will be played at Golf Club of Houston from March 27-­April 2, 2017. Net proceeds from ticket sales will benefit The First Tee of Greater Houston and other core charities.

HOUSTON GOLF ASSOCIATION

For 70 years, Houston Golf Association has organized high-­profile professional and amateur golf events in the Greater Houston area to support its mission to make a difference in Houston and in the lives of youth through its charitable programs. The HGA, a not-­for-­profit, tax exempt 501c(3) organization, is a prolific charitable fundraiser, bolstered by a strong group of members and volunteers. Visit www.hga.org for more information.

THE FIRST TEE OF GREATER HOUSTON

The Houston Golf Association holds the charter to The First Tee of Greater Houston. The First Tee is dedicated to impacting the lives of young people in the Greater Houston area by providing learning facilities and educational programs that build character, instill life-­enhancing values, and promote healthy choices through the game of golf. The largest chapter in the world-­wide network, The First Tee of Greater Houston operates nine green grass learning facilities across Houston and reaches more than 300,000 youth. The program is currently offered at 455 schools, and by 2020, the program goal is to extend into every public school across Houston, impacting the lives of more than 500,000 youth. Visit www.thefirstteegreaterhouston.org

2016 Greater Houston City Amateur Championship

HOUSTON, TX (Sept. 30-Oct. 2) – Broc Haymon of Pearland matched the tournament scoring  record en route to a 3-shot victory over 2014 champion John Hunter in the Greater Houston Men’s Amateur Championship at Memorial Park Golf Course. Haymon carded rounds of 72-65-68-70 for a 9-under-par 275 total. Hunter, runner-up the past two years after setting the 72-hole scoring record, posted rounds of 70-67-70-71.

Haymon, 28, and Hunter,32, were tied at 5-under after two rounds when the starting field of 144 was cut to the low 40 scorers and ties for the  36-hole Sunday finale. A total of 46 players made the cut with a score of 8-over-par 150.

Haymon opened a 3-shot lead over Hunter Saturday morning after three rounds. The former college baseball player led the field with 20 birdies over four rounds.

Grant Schroeder of Montgomery, whose father Ron won this championship five times, finished third at 4-under-par 280. Normally a par-72 layout, Memorial Park is set up as a par-71 for the Men’s Amateur.

Kyle Maxwell of The Woodlands and 18-year-old Walker Lee, the first-round leader, shared fourth place at even-par 284.  A pair of 16-year-olds Shuai Ming Wong of The Woodlands and Ransom Jacobson of Humble shared sixth place at 285, a stroke better than Clint White, 26, of Friendswood.

Bart Worthing, 36, of Weston Lakes, the 2012 champion, finished at 287 and Devaughn Robinson, 28, rounded out the Top 10 at 288. The top 10 finishers and champions since 2011 are exempt for the 2017 event.

Defending champion Matt Van Zandt shot 293 and tied for 17th.

Two local teens participate in Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach

boyd-26    schuster

HOUSTON, TX (Sept. 20, 2016) – Local teens Scott Shuster and Stephen Boyd represented The First Tee® of Greater Houston at the 13th annual Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, a PGA TOUR Champions event. The professional player field included World Golf Hall of Fame member Bernhard Langer and two-time major championship winner John Daly.

Shuster was paired with professional Kirk Triplett and Boyd partnered with major championship winner Mark O’Meara during the 54-hole tournament.

Schuster has been a member of The First Tee since 2008. Originally from The First Tee of Pasadena, Calif., Scott transferred to the Greater Houston chapter in 2015 and is now a junior at Morton Ranch High School. Selected to participate in the pre-tournament Coca-Cola Champions Challenge event, Scott teamed with professional Billy Andrade to help earn a $4,000 donation for The First Tee of Greater Houston.

Boyd has been a member of The First Tee of Greater Houston since 2012 and is a junior at Langham Creek High School. Both Scott and Stephen are Ace level participants in the program.

Schuster and Boyd were selected to participate in the internationally televised event by a national panel of judges who evaluated playing ability and comprehension of the life skills and character education learned through their involvement with The First Tee. The juniors were teamed with 81 PGA TOUR Champions players and 162 amateurs in tournament play on Pebble Beach Golf Links and Poppy Hills Golf Course.

The First Tee of Greater Houston is one of 165 chapters worldwide. Serving the Houston community since 2004, more than one million local young people have been impacted through chapter programs and The First Tee National School Program. The golf-based programs are focused on building character through The First Tee Nine Core Values®: honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment.

The First Tee Junior Participants Scott Schuster and Stephen Boyd to Represent Houston at Pebble Beach First Tee Open

Scott Schuster and Stephen Boyd will represent The First Tee of Greater Houston and compete in the 2016 Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, Sept. 16-18. The national chapter selected both juniors from a large pool of nominees to join a field of 81 The First Tee participants.

Scott Schuster has been a member of The First Tee since 2008. Originally from The First Tee of Pasadena, Calif., Scott transferred to the Greater Houston chapter in 2015 and is now a senior at Morton Ranch High School. Stephen Boyd has been a member of The First Tee of Greater Houston since 2012 and is a junior at Langham Creek High School. Both Scott and Stephen are Ace level participants in the program.

Congratulations to Scott and Stephen for their accomplishments on and off the course.

The First Tee of Greater Houston has been operating under the Houston Golf Association since 2004. The Houston chapter has expanded its reach into 417 area public schools and eight green grass facilities. Approximately 290,000 Houston-area youth benefit from the organization’s learning facilities and educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf.

Learn more about how to get involved or click here to view the 2016 fall class schedule.

Houston Golf Association Elects New Board of Directors Chair and Officers; Names General Chair for 2017 Shell Houston Open

HOUSTON (June 22, 2016) – Houston Golf Association announced the election of new members to its board of directors. Meg Leachman, who served as vice chair in 2016 is named the new board chair. John O. Armour, Veronica Levet, Jeff Miers, Michael Sandeen and Maurice Shaw elected to board positions on Monday (June 13) at the annual election meeting held at the Dick Harmon Learning Center.

Meg Leachman has been a volunteer of the Houston Golf Association since 2004. She most recently served as vice chairman of the HGA board of directors and serves on the executive committee. She served as the general chair of the Shell Houston Open in 2013 and 2014 and was recipient of the 2011 Earl Elliott Member of the Year Award. Leachman succeeds Tom Forestier, who completed a two-year term, but will remain on the board of directors for one year.

John Armour will serve as vice chair. This is Armour’s second three-year term. Other board officers are Michael Sandeen (treasurer) and Jeff Miers (secretary). Mike Yeager has been named general chair for the 2017 Shell Houston Open.

Steve Timms is the president and CEO of Houston Golf Association and oversees the day-to-day operation of the organization and the Houston Golf Association staff.

2017 to Mark the Final Year of Shell Oil Company’s Sponsorship of the Shell Houston Open

HOUSTON, Tex. (June 8, 2016) –Shell Oil Company has notified the PGA TOUR and the Houston Golf Association that it will not continue as title sponsor of the Shell Houston Open beyond the 2017 tournament. Shell has sponsored the tournament since 1992.

“We very much appreciate the efforts the HGA and PGA TOUR have undertaken to support our brands throughout our fruitful quarter-century plus partnership,” said Bruce Culpepper, President, Shell Oil Company. “We could not be more proud of what we have accomplished together and look forward to celebrating our collective success at the final [26th] Shell Houston Open in 2017. We continue to wish the HGA, the TOUR and the many charitable organizations they support the greatest success in the future.”

Since it was first organized by the Houston Golf Association in 1946, the tournament has generated $64 million for local charities and youth programs. Of that amount, more than $60 million has been raised since Shell Oil Company became the title sponsor.

“Shell has been a tremendous partner to the Houston Golf Association and while this phase in our partnership is coming to a close, our work together has created the best foundation we’ve had in the 70-year history of our professional golf event,” said Steve Timms, President and CEO, Houston Golf Association. “We are enthusiastic about the future of the Houston Golf Association and this tournament, and we remain steadfast in furthering the goals of our charitable programs and the impact the tournament will continue to have on our great city.”

The PGA TOUR, working closely with the HGA, will begin the search for a new title sponsor immediately. The TOUR has a proven track record of securing replacement sponsors and is confident a new title sponsor will be identified, particularly with the advance notice Shell has provided and for a tournament that is so well established and has had such a positive impact on the community. The Shell Houston Open is the 10th oldest tournament on TOUR.

“Beyond being one of the longest-running tournaments on the PGA TOUR and having such a rich history, the Shell Houston Open has demonstrated what a valuable contribution an event can have on the local community with the longevity of corporate partnership, like that of Shell,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. “We greatly appreciate all that Shell has done over the years to support its hometown tournament and the wonderful charitable work of the HGA. We will begin the search for new title sponsor right away and are confident we will be successful in those efforts.”

The 2016 Shell Houston Open held at the Golf Club of Houston experienced record attendance of 125,000. The tournament generates hours of live national broadcast coverage, hours of network television coverage and promotion via other outlets for the city of Houston annually. Internationally, the tournament is broadcast in 228 countries, reaching nearly 1 billion households. The Shell Houston Open annually generates an estimated $25 million to $30 million in economic impact for the Greater Houston area.

Funding from the tournament goes to HGA Youth Programs, including the HGA Scholarship Program, HGA Junior Golf, and The First Tee® of Greater Houston. This continual funding has enabled growth for The First Tee of Greater Houston, an organization that teaches life skills to children through the game of golf. The local chapter is now in 400 public schools across Houston, impacting more than 290,000 children annually, making it the largest chapter in the worldwide network.

More than 200 additional worthy causes and nonprofit organizations have received donations or gifts in kind as a result of the tournament, including Shell Houston Open ongoing beneficiaries Chinquapin Prep (since 1979), Cenikor Foundation, Inc. (since 1996), and Project Joy and Hope (since 2014).

Shell has been synonymous with professional golf since its landmark television series Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf first aired from 1962-1970 and from 1994-2003, Shell has been heavily involved with the sport since that time, not only as title sponsor of the Shell Houston Open but as the sole Founding Partner of the World Golf Foundation, which oversees the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, FL, and as the founding corporate partner for The First Tee®, a WGF outreach program that has brought the game of golf and its values to millions of children worldwide.

The 2017 Shell Houston Open is March 27-April 2 at the Golf Club of Houston. Visit www.ShellHoustonOpen.com for more information.

 

Shell Oil Company

Shell Oil Company is an affiliate of the Royal Dutch Shell plc, a global group of energy and petrochemical companies with operations in more than 70 countries. In the U.S., Shell operates in 50 states and employs more than 20,000 people working to help tackle the challenges of the new energy future.

 

Houston Golf Association

For 70 years, Houston Golf Association has organized high-profile professional and amateur golf events in the Greater Houston area to support its mission to make a difference in Houston and in the lives of youth through its charitable programs. The HGA, a not-for-profit, tax exempt 501c (3) organization, is a prolific charitable fundraiser, bolstered by a strong group of members and volunteers. Visit www.hga.org for more information.

 

PGA TOUR

The PGA TOUR is the world’s premier membership organization for touring professional golfers, co-sanctioning more than 130 tournaments on the PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR Champions, Web.com Tour, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada and PGA TOUR China.

The PGA TOUR’s mission is to entertain and inspire its fans, deliver substantial value to its partners, create outlets for volunteers to give back, generate significant charitable and economic impact in the communities in which it plays, and provide financial opportunities for TOUR players.

Worldwide, PGA TOUR tournaments are broadcast to more than 1 billion households in 227 countries and territories in 30 languages. Virtually all tournaments are organized as non-profit organizations in order to maximize charitable giving. In 2014, tournaments across all Tours generated a record $140.5 million for local and national charitable organizations, after surpassing $2 billion in all-time charitable contributions early in the year.

The PGA TOUR’s web site is PGATOUR.COM, the No. 1 site in golf, and the organization is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.

Contact:

Chris Smith                               Amanda Hansen                          Natalie Mazey

PGA TOUR                               Houston Golf Association           Shell Oil Company

904-273-3379                        281-459-8702                             713-241-4544

csmith@pgatourhq.com          ahansen@hga.org                        Natalie.mazey@shell.com

JOHN LEVET, 2016 SHELL HOUSTON OPEN WINNER OF THE PGA TOUR VOLUNTEER CHALLENGE, SPONSORED BY MYRBETRIQ® (MIRABEGRON)

John Levet has been named the winner of the 2016 PGA TOUR Volunteer Challenge sponsored by Myrbetriq® (mirabegron). Levet presented a $10,000 check to the Houston Golf Association (HGA) Junior Golf Program on behalf of Astellas Pharma US, Inc. on Championship Sunday at the Shell Houston Open. The charity was chosen by Levet from a list provided by the tournament.

The PGA TOUR Volunteer Challenge is a friendly competition, which raises funds for charity while recognizing the talent, passion and commitment of the more than 100,000 annual PGA TOUR tournament volunteers nationwide who dedicate extensive time to helping tournaments raise funds for local charities.

Levet volunteered at the Shell Houston Open as a meaningful way to experience the tournament and get an up-close and personal look at professional golf. As winner of the PGA TOUR Volunteer Challenge at the Shell Houston Open, he will help make a difference for students served through the HGA Junior Golf Program.

The PGA TOUR Volunteer Challenge is taking place at 16 tournaments during the 2016 PGA TOUR season and builds upon close to $1 million provided by its sponsor Astellas to tournament charities over the course of the PGA TOUR sponsorship.

For additional information about the Volunteer Challenge, visit PGATOUR.com/Volunteers.

Houston Golf Association Takes Over Operations of Gus Wortham Park Golf Course

The Houston Golf Association (HGA) announced today that the transition of the Gus Wortham Park Golf Course from the city of Houston is complete and the HGA has officially taken over operations.

Read More »