Friends of Golf (FOG) Named 2017 Southern California PGA Bill Bryant Award Recipient
(January 30, 2018) — Fountain Valley, California – At the Banquet of Champions, in front of the junior golfers who directly benefit from their support, the Friends of Golf (FOG) received the Bill Bryant Award for extraordinary and exemplary contributions by an individual(s) to grow the game of golf. Led by Eddie Merrins, PGA – Founder, Sal Cimbolo – Chairman and CEO, John Hoffman – President, and Barry Thurston, FOG Board Member, Friends of Golf has significantly impacted the Southern California PGA Foundation, especially the SCPGA Junior Tour. The SCPGA Junior Tour is one of the largest and most successful youth golf programs in the country for the past six decades.
Bill Bryant founded the Junior Golf Association of Southern California, along with Ralph W. Miller, in 1948 and served as the association president until his death in 1983. Along with providing leadership and financial assistance, Bill arranged for the use of numerous golf courses and was a member of the USGA Junior Golf Championship Committee. The Bill Bryant Award was created after his death to recognize individuals who have shown distinguished service and support to the SCPGA Junior Golf Program. The SCPGA Junior Tour knew there was no one more deserving of this award than FOG for their continuous assistance and friendship.
“It is our honor and pleasure to award the 2017 Bill Bryant Award, given for distinguished service and support to junior golf, to Friends of Golf. Not only has their outreach greatly impacted the golfing community in Southern California, but more importantly, junior golf has benefited through their tremendous support and financial assistance over the last four decades,” – Kevin Smith, SCPGA Junior Golf Director.
While FOG’s support helps and aids the Foundation through scholarships and the Junior Tour program as a whole, it specifically has helped raise the bar on the Junior Development Tour series (JDT). The JDT series is a way for juniors to gain competitive golf experience in a more relaxed and fun environment. It allows them to gain knowledge of the rules, etiquette and competitive nature of tournament golf while also having fun on the golf course. This series reaches more than 750 juniors annually across Southern California, including diverse populations that may not otherwise have been exposed to the game of golf.
“The Friends of Golf have been tremendous supporters of the Southern California PGA Foundation for the past three years and we couldn’t be more thankful for their patronage. FOG has been instrumental in the growth and development of young golfers from coast to coast, and we feel extremely fortunate to have their continued support. Congratulations to everyone at FOG for receiving the Bill Bryant Award and for your commendable work with the Southern California PGA,” – Matt Gilson, SCPGA Foundation Manager.
ABOUT FRIENDS OF GOLF
Friends of Golf (FOG) supports student athlete golfers by instilling the values of honesty, ethics, fellowship with a true appreciation for the game. From the time boys and girls enter grade school through the end of their college experience, FOG makes it possible for aspiring junior golfers (irrespective of economic standing) to play, compete and excel in this exceptional sport.
ABOUT THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA PGA FOUNDATION
The SCPGA Foundation strives to stimulate youngsters to begin their journey toward athletic as well as personal excellence. Through opportunities for academic, athletic, and personal growth, the Foundation seeks to interest a junior in the game of a lifetime and afford that girl or boy, regardless of race, social or economic standing, religious conviction or skill, the chance to enjoy access to lessons, golf equipment and courses on which to practice and play. The Southern California PGA Foundation’s mission is to provide all those who might benefit, especially youth, with opportunities to acquire sustainable life skills and values obtained through the game of golf.
ABOUT THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA PGA JUNIOR TOUR
The Southern California PGA Junior Tour’s mission is to create learning and playing opportunities for individuals of all ages and skill levels throughout Southern California. We aim to utilize golf as a vehicle to instill values such as integrity, honor, and patience. The SCPGA Junior Tour strives to foster and develop these values that will positively impact our member’s character on and off the golf course. Established in 1948, the Southern California PGA now hosts one of the largest and most respected junior golf programs in the country. The SCPGA Junior Tour is a three-tiered program featuring the Toyota Tour Cup, the Players Tour and the Junior Development League. Together, these three tours administer over 275 tournaments annually for kids of all ages and skill-levels. These events provide playing opportunities throughout Southern California, many of which are hosted by PGA facilities. The Junior Tour boasts countless alumni including Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler, Lizette Salas, Charlie Wi, Brendon Steele, Jenifer Johnson, John Cook, Patrick Cantlay and many more.