After a highly rewarding career, champion golfer Jack Nicklaus has since turned his attention to sharing his passion with the next generation. Recognizing that kids often develop their athletic preferences early, and that the solitary nature of golf and its adult-sized equipment can dissuade young athletes from pursuing the sport, Nicklaus has teamed up with NRPA and NRPA partner SNAG Golf, a company that offers a simple, fun introduction to golf for beginning players of all ages.
The result of the collaboration is the Jack Nicklaus Learning Leagues, which will begin popping up in city park and recreation departments this spring. Operating similar to Little League baseball or youth soccer leagues, the program will teach the fundamentals of golf to youngsters at minimal cost to families. A foundation Nicklaus is setting up will provide SNAG Golf equipment, designed specifically for younger bodies still learning coordination skills, to each league.
“Going into the parks and places where the kids come and where they have team sports—it’s a good concept and it’s never been done in golf. So let’s just see how it evolves,” Nicklaus said in a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal.
NRPA has been working with SNAG Golf in a 15-city pilot program over the past two years to assess interest from communities and work out the logistical kinks. So far, the program has been a great success, and park and recreation personnel involved have reported great enthusiasm from parents and young participants.
Some 300 new Nicklaus Leagues are expected to launch in 2013, with even more planned for 2014. NRPA grants will be available to agencies wishing to participate in the program. These grants can help cover costs associated with providing Jack Nicklaus Learning Leagues equipment, coaching, and programming.
For more information, visit www.nrpa.org/jnll.