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ARIZONA NEWS


JUNIOR GOLF


Former Xavier College Prep standout Lily Worden is playing golf these days for Amherst College in Massachusetts.


practice. Normally I’d be with her. It was nice to know she’s thinking about me, even though it was 35 degrees here and she’s hitting balls in the sunshine.” If you ask Scott McNevin, executive


For JGAA alum Worden, her journey led to Amherst


L


ily Worden has been a permanent fixture as a member of the Junior Golf Association of Arizona since entering her first


tournament in 2011. After graduating from Xavier College Prep in the spring of 2017, as well as teeing it up for the last time with the JGAA, Worden headed east to study and play golf at Amherst College in Massachusetts. “As I was looking into different


colleges, the father of a good friend who I play golf with all the time suggested I should look at liberal arts colleges back east,” Worden said. “Amherst is a good fit for me, so it turned out to be a good tip.” Worden grew up playing alongside


First Tee of Phoenix


her father and younger sister, among other friends and competitors. And as the conversation continued, the theme of family, friends and golf as a game of relationships emerged as the driving force behind Worden’s journey. Although golf is an individual sport, Worden explained that she “spent a lot of time” and “grew up” with people she met playing golf at JGAA tournaments. “It’s a social sport where you naturally


make connections,” she said. “It opens doors to relationships. I met some of my biggest advocates and friends through golf. My sister, Eve, texted me yesterday to say she’s going out to


“The new location at The


adds Wigwam The First Tee of Phoenix, which is sponsored and operated by the Thunderbirds, announced today it will open a new junior golf programming site at The Wigwam in Litchfield Park. The new location will supplement the existing programming location in that area at Palm Valley Golf Club, which is just to the south of the Wigwam in Goodyear.


Wigwam ensures our members living in the West Valley have a top-notch facility to learn and grow,” said Herman Lewkowitz, board chair for The First Tee of Phoenix. “The Wigwam is an incredible facility and will give the young people of our communities the opportunity to not only learn to play the great game of golf, but also learn nine core life skills that will prepare them for success in life.” The First Tee of Phoenix is a


non-profit organization created by the Thunderbirds for the purpose


34 | AZ GOLF Insider | SPRING-SUMMER 2018


director of the JGAA, forging community relationships is part of the plan. “The competitive tournaments we host


are just part of developmental goals of the JGAA,” McNevin said. “We also educate, motivate and inspire juniors to become leaders within their communities.” One of those ways is the Junior Ambassador program, which gives JGAA members a taste of civic duty and responsibility by volunteering at special events. The Guest Speaker program allows JGAA members to gain real- world insight from prominent local golf and business leaders, and College Golf Night provides valuable insight into the demands and complexities


of being a student-athlete. Each year the panel of experts includes men’s and women’s golf coaches from ASU, UA, Grand Canyon and NAU. Visit JGAA.org to learn more about


the JGAA and how it can become positive influence for your junior golfer, both on and off the golf course. n


of providing affordable access to golf and golf learning facilities for young people throughout Maricopa County. The First Tee of Phoenix offers classes, special monthly family events and tournaments as part of its programming. The addition of The


Wigwam brings to 16 locations throughout the Valley for the First Tee of Phoenix, including


The Legacy, Talking Stick, TPC Scottsdale, Desert Mirage, Papago, Longbow, Lone Tree, San Marcos, Cave Creek, Encanto/Palo Verde, Aguila, Valley Golf Facilities, Augusta Ranch and Briarwood Country Club.


The Thunderbirds were


founded in 1937 with the mission of promoting the Valley of the Sun through sports. Consisting of 55 active members and more than 250 life members, the Thunderbirds host the Waste Management Phoenix Open, and have raised more than $121 million for Valley charities, including the First Tee of Phoenix. Annual membership to the


First Tee of Phoenix is $100 per child. The First Tee of Phoenix also accepts equipment and membership donations. Sign up by visiting www.TheFirstTeePhoenix. org, or by calling (602) 305-7655. n


www.azgolf.org


JGAA


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