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Southern California Golf Association

The SCGA is one of the country's oldest and most influential regional golf organizations.

BY JOEL BEERSPublished: September, 2009

Kevin Heaney is the SCGA's executive director.
At 110 years of age, the SCGA is showing no signs of slowing down.

“About a year ago, we sat down and went through a formal strategic plan, looking at things we did, things we didn’t do, and we identified those that were doing very well, and those that needed improvement,” SCGA executive director Kevin Heaney said. “So, I think in the next couple of years, you’re going to see more of an emphasis on helping people  participate in the game.”

Among the SCGA’s tasks are rating local courses, providing a computerized handicap system, organizing tournaments for amateurs and serving as a clearinghouse for information ranging from rules to the history of Southern California golf.

But while it’s geared toward making the game enjoyable for its more than 150,000 members, the SCGA also reaches out to golfers who love to play but aren’t interested in maintaining a handicap or playing in tournaments.

The SCGA’s Casual Golf Days are for “people who may be intimidated or not appreciate a tournament experience, but who still enjoy the camaraderie of being out on a golf course,” Heaney said. “The events allow people to go to facilities they haven’t been to before and participate in a coordinated event, but without the pressure of competition.”

The SCGA Foundation also administers grants to organizations and, this year, its Foundation Scholarship Program will distribute $30,000 to seven students for college tuitions, room and board, and educational supplies. Another $560,000 in grants will be awarded to youth service organizations.

The SCGA also is involved with the Youth on Course program, a statewide initiative that makes golf affordable and accessible to juniors who are familiar with the game’s rules and etiquette, in addition to being involved in some kind of life skills or educational program.

“We only started this last year, but we’ve already given more than 9,000 buckets of balls and 5,000 rounds of golf to juniors at a greatly discounted rate,” Heaney said.

Future upgrades at the SCGA will include a revamped presence on the Internet.

“We want to create a more robust website where individuals can go for our core things, such as entering tournaments and getting handicap information, but we also want to provide information on many other things, from education and history to what’s going on with turf and water issues,” Heaney said. “Golf is no different from anything else in the economy, and we are facing challenges. But this is a better opportunity for our members and our courses to enrich the experience for everyone.”

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Readers Feedback:

I am extremely pleased to see the emphasis on the Junior golf acivities. I had the pleasure of working with the Juniors at one of Canada's Premier courses, Hamilton Golf & Country Club for 7 years and saw the results of these efforts, in the citizens it turned out and the future long term golfers who retained their interest in the game and promoted it at their course. I feel they were the driving force behind promoting HG&CC as the site of the Canadian Open. There is no better way that I know of that will turn out quality future citizens. Thanks for your efforts and keep up the good work on everyones behalf. I am a Snowbird and enjoy California's hospitality at Shadow Hills Golf Club, in Indio, CA
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