Following the events of the past week or so, we must realize COVID-19 is only one of the unrelenting challenges of 2020. Instead of fighting against an unseen enemy such as the virus, we have come to realize another challenge is in front of us due to the inequities of human existence, and we cannot ignore what we see and experience.
It is our belief that daily life includes respect, compassion and getting along with each other, wherever that may be. We watch the frustration and anger leading to destruction and the call for justice and equality next door to us and ponder how we, and the game of golf, can help and be a part of a solution and how we can promote just and humane practices for everyone.
Each one of us has an influence in our communities to lead the golf industry and others to stand together for a better life for everyone. Rather than just making statements, let’s unite, with interest leading to motivation for change and bring together every person, regardless of their color or background, through the outreach of golf and through our community.
Let’s begin in our neighboring communities within the schools – the middle schools, high schools, and community colleges to bring young people together with golf and show the way to opportunities that provide value to their lives through a game that is fun, safe and inclusive. It may take some time, cooperation, and patience, but we know we can and will make a difference in lives and our communities through the game of golf. We’ve witnessed it, and we know we can continue, and we also know we can do better and more.
We are an association and community of over 1,600 PGA Professionals and those we come in contact with every day . We celebrate the diversity of our members – gender, race and ethnic backgrounds. We realize we have work to do in order for our game to resemble more of our communities. We are committed in doing so. The SCPGA is in the middle of impactful programs and activities that create change, such as our ClubsForeYouth Program and our high school golf program in Compton, just to name two. C4Y has brought high school boys and girls together in diverse communities all across Southern California and provided golf equipment to enable the students to enjoy a game that brings them together and provides promise and goals for the future. Students, as recipients of the golf equipment and the benefit of the game, have already taken a path to colleges and universities to continue their lives along a path of success and continued education. And we take pride that the game of golf played a part in that success and opportunity.
In Compton, another example, for the first time, golf has garnered the interest of sixty high school students. The program, like so many others, unfortunately ceased due to COVID-19, but we look forward to resuming soon and continuing our mission of providing this important community outreach and creating a meaningful impact with these students in Compton.
We are witnessing the need for compassion and support right next door. We recognize that golf won’t cure all of life’s challenges, but because of you, our SCPGA professional and your constituency, we are positioned to lead and take action within our communities and provide golf to everyone.
Tony Letendre, PGA Tom Addis III, PGA
SCPGA President SCPGA CEO / Executive Director