By Alex Ball and Liz Healy, AJGA Communications
The AJGA is about more than golf. AJGA Executive Director Stephen Hamblin has worked hard to ensure the events run by the AJGA give back to or somehow impact the communities around them. With 113 events on the 2015 schedule, the impact of these tournaments is huge.
The Country Club of the South in Johns Creek, Georgia, has hosted seven AJGA tournaments since 2009 and each year the events around the tournament grow. This year’s Wells Fargo Junior Classic presented by Mizuno was no exception with almost 30 teams competing in the annual Junior-Am Fundraising Tournament that takes place prior to the first round of the tournament.
The goal of a Junior-Am is to raise funds that are allocated to a benefitting charity as well as the AJGA’s Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant. The tournament committee, along with the AJGA staff, designates which charities the proceeds of the event will benefit.
This year’s featured charity was Hire Heroes USA, an organization based in Alpharetta, Georgia. The mission of the organization is to create job opportunities for U.S. military veterans and their spouses. Hire Heroes Chief Operating Officer Nathan Smith was present to accept the $25,000 donation that will go toward programs and services, ultimately helping 15-18 veterans find jobs.
In total, the tournament raised more than $60,000 to give back to these six charities: Eagle Ranch, The Country Club of the South Junior Program, Hire Heroes USA, Atlanta Junior Golf, the AJGA’s ACE Grant Program and Athens Junior Golf.
Going beyond the fundraising, the Wells Fargo Junior Classic presented by Mizuno has become an event that the Johns Creek community rallies around. This year, more than 80 members of The Country Club of the South and surrounding community volunteered their time to help make this tournament the special event that it has become.
“In seven years, it has grown from a small little idea to probably one of the best open events we have on the AJGA schedule,” Hamblin said. “And it is because of the community involvement and the impact it has made on local charities.”