Once upon a time, there was an 8-year-old boy who wanted to play golf…

He had only 4 golf clubs and little to no access to golf courses. He decided if he really wanted to play, the only way to do it was to get a job at a local club and be paid in range balls and an occasional round on the course. So he applied for a job. The pro told him they normally didn’t hire 8-year olds, but his determination clearly impressed the pro who gave him the job. He picked up balls and trash, cleaned clubs and whatever else his pro wanted him to do.

His father then told him, if he won a trophy he would get a set of clubs. The 8-year old entered a local 10 and under event, with a full field, and came in 2nd to a local 10-year old who always seemed to win. With trophy in hand his father fulfilled his promise, but only with a second hand set of ladies clubs.

This was clearly not a child of privilege, but one with desire and hard work ethics. His talent was recognized by a local golf professional who, along with many others, saw the potential in this boy and offered him opportunity, resources and support.

Who was this 8-year-old boy?  None other than FOG’s 2015 Honoree, Phil Mickelson.

Yes, a pro of Phil’s ability, reputation, success and determination was the beneficiary of many people who believed in him at an early age and wanted to help him pursue his dream.  Back then, all of Phil’s supporters could have been called “Friends of Phil’s Golf”.

The support from Phil’s friends is precisely the role of FRIENDS OF GOLF. Our mandate is to provide opportunity to every golf-loving boy and girl, irrespective of their access to golf facilities, golf clubs, driving ranges and/or money. We reach those unknown but potentially talented “Phils” and maybe “Anikas” out there, who are themselves without the resources to pursue their own dreams.

Thanks to the many wonderful sponsors and supporters of this year’s FOG event, many young boys and girls, with their own dreams of winning the Masters, could actually have that chance.

THE KEN VENTURI “Spirit of Giving” AWARD

In 2012, for the first time in its history, Friends of Golf (FOG) created the inaugural Ken Venturi “Spirit of Giving” Award. This award was created to honor Ken Venturi and his lifelong commitment to be an inspiring and motivating force for young golfers everywhere.   Ken was a Friend of FOG for many years—almost since its inception. Through the years, he graciously contributed his time and energy to support the mission of FOG by attending the event every year, conducting clinics for the players, and attracting many of the top professional golfers to contribute their time and interest to fostering good will for the young amateur and college golfer.  Each new year, FOG honors another individual who represents similar values and devotes their life to giving and inspiring young golfers everywhere.

The 2015 “Spirit of Giving” Award recipients were founder Ely Callaway  (posthumously) and Oliver “Chip” Brewer (CEO) of CALLAWAY GOLF.  

The BEN HOGAN Trophy

What do Vince Lombardi, John Heisman, Bronco Nagurski, Chuck Bednarik, Dick Butkus, Ronnie Lott and Ben Hogan all have in common? They are all named for the most recognized college sports awards in the country. Ben Hogan was arguably the best golfer in history, yet few golfers (let alone ordinary Americans), are aware of the Hogan Trophy. {read more}

Favorite FOG Memory!

Share YOUR favorite FOG memory or enjoy fond memories of others.