A Persevering Champion

After 17 years as a professional golfer, Sergio Garcia is a Masters Champion. 

    This is the first time he’s won one of the four major golf championships, which include the Masters Tournament, the U.S. Open, the Open Championship, and the PGA Championship.

     The 37-year-old plays in both the PGA Tour and the European Tour, and has won 31 international tournaments as a professional. He has been in the Official World Golf Rankings top 10 for more than a decade, according to his website. 

    Off the course, he has dedicated himself to making golf accessible to players of all ability-levels and backgrounds. In 2002, he founded the Sergio Foundation to promote, develop and fund golf clinics for disabled youth throughout Spain. 

    Garcia recently partners with the American Junior Golf Association for the first Sergio Garcia Foundation Junior Championship, which will be held May 6-8 in Winter Garden, Florida. 

    Since 2014, Garcia has also been the honorary chairman of the Junior PLAYERS Championship.

    In 2015, Garcia was featured in a commercial for The First Tee, titled “Better People.” As a player, he strives to instill values of perseverance and upstanding character in the young golfers he influences. 

    After spitting into the hole during a third round of the CA Championship in 2007, many questioned his character and influence on the youth he wanted to impact. His past character flaws show that people can learn and change their behaviors to have better outcomes.

    This reversal of character, along with the dedication and hard work that resulted in his 2017 Masters win, make Garcia a great role model for our Gator Junior Golfers. He has continuously worked to make golf accessible and teach young people valuable life lessons through the sport, which align with the missions of Gator Junior Golf.

“That's a big thing for me,” said executive director Sean Warner. “We've got to reduce the barriers to entry for the sport to truly be inclusive of all demographics. This includes access to equipment, ability to play and practice outside of class, and reduce the financial burdens for parents to play golf with their kids.”

    Gator Junior Golf is a non-profit youth development organization that uses the game of golf to help children succeed both on and off the golf course. Golf helps our students build character and teaches them the values that bridges success on the course into other walks of life.

    We currently partner with a local McDonald's to provide 28 students with scholarships for our program, totaling $1,500. In addition to these scholarships, we want to expand our fundraising infrastructure to accommodate more students and better serve the students we already have. 

    Within the next year, Gator Junior Golf is opening an after-school day at Ironwood Golf Course to accommodate our students in east Gainesville. The long term goal is to have exclusive practice facilities for our students at golf courses in Gainesville so that we can provide the best learning environment possible.

    “If we want to make the golf course a home for these kids, we've got to give them a roof first,” Warner said.

Author: Katie Campione - https://www.katherinecampione.com/

Katie Campione