First Tee Media Release

Gragtmans Family Foundation makes $1M USD gift to First Tee – Canada

Inspired to support the life skills and development values ingrained in golf, the Gragtmans Family Foundation has announced a major $1M USD donation to the Golf Canada Foundation to directly power the advancement of First Tee – Canada.

The generosity of the Gragtmans Family Foundation as the Founding Donor and Trustee of First Tee – Ontario will fund and facilitate the provincial chapter launch including program development and delivery with multi-faceted activities designed for schools, community centres, and youth facilities.

First Tee – Canada will provide Canadian youth, and especially those in underrepresented groups, access to affordable and meaningful character education programs through golf. Golf Canada intends on launching chapters in every province in Canada by 2022, with the goal of 100,000 annual participants in the program by 2023.

“The Gragtmans Family Foundation focuses on the positive development and advancement of youth in Canada and abroad,” said Ian Gragtmans, Founder of the Gragtmans Family Foundation. “We are thrilled to be aligned with one of the world’s premiere and proven international youth development organizations. Our mission of providing youth with support to help positively design and advance their lives aligns well with the First Tee values of integrity, respect and perseverance.” A pursuer of growth and knowledge, Mr. Gragtmans credits many who have and continue to act as mentors, and his support of First Tee Canada directly reflects the ongoing responsibility of giving back by helping others.

“The pace of growth behind First Tee – Canada since being announced in Fall 2020 has been incredible, and that’s because of the shared vision of youth champions like the Gragtmans Family Foundation,” said Golf Canada Chief Sport Officer Kevin Blue. “The generosity of the Gragtmans Family Foundation towards this provincial chapter-founding, multi-year gift brings incredible momentum to our national youth development program in Canada’s largest market and will surely set the example and encourage deeper expansion across the Canadian philanthropic community.”

Through its deep network of donors and trustees, Golf Canada Foundation is a critical partner in supporting the launch and advancement of First Tee Canada through its fundraising and philanthropic efforts. Canada’s Provincial Golf Associations will also play a role in the advancement of First Tee Canada as chapters form in markets across Canada.

“We are extremely grateful to Ian Gragtmans and the Gragtmans Family Foundation for their incredible generosity as the catalyst to officially launch the first Ontario chapter of First Tee Canada,” said Golf Canada Foundation CEO Martin Barnard. “The meaningful support of our donors and corporate champions has far exceeded our early expectations and has provided real momentum in our discussion with others who want to get behind this character building program for youth.”

The generosity of the Gragtmans Family Foundation joins a growing number of chapter-founding and program advancement gifts that have been secured in 2021 with additional investments to be announced in the coming weeks.

Since its inception in 1997, First Tee has impacted more than 15 million young people through its character-building programs on golf courses, in schools and at youth-serving locations. The First Tee network has grown to over 150 chapters and more than 1,200 program locations across the United States as well as six international chapters in Australia, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, and Canada, delivering programs that help young people build character and develop life skills through the game of golf.

Golf Canada and the Golf Canada Foundation are continuously pursuing more gifts, which will allow more chapters to launch in Canada. For more information on First Tee – Canada, to get involved, or to donate, visit www.firstteecanada.ca

Golf Canada Media Release

Golf Canada will tee it up for 2021 National Amateur Championships

Golf Canada will tee it up in 2021 to conduct national amateur championships and is working with public health authorities in host communities to finalize operational protocols so that the competitions may proceed safely. 

Following a 2020 season that saw the cancellation of all Golf Canada competitions due to the pandemic, the 2021 schedule will feature nine National Amateur Championships, eight NextGen Championships for junior-aged golfers, and several USGA qualifiers which will be hosted at member clubs across Canada. 

“We are taking a measured but optimistic approach to conducting our 2021 championship season and we are excited to welcome the athletes back to our competitions,” said Golf Canada Chief Sport Officer Kevin Blue. “Golf Canada will continue to prioritize the safety of players, volunteers, host club and tournament staff, and host communities and will work with regional health authorities and our host clubs to get our national amateur competitions back on the tee. We also want to thank our roster of host clubs and volunteer committees for giving back to the game and joining us in this journey.” 

CLICK HERE TO SEE GOLF CANADA’S 2021 CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE

Operational protocols for each competition will align with local and provincial health and safety guidelines that have allowed golf courses to open for regular play. Should public health guidelines or interprovincial travel restrictions warrant, Golf Canada will make modifications to the competition schedule including a change to the size and composition of tournament fields or an outright event cancellation should circumstances dictate.

National Amateur Championship registration will open on Wednesday, April 7 at 12:00pm EDT while registration for all NextGen Championships will open on Monday, March 29 at 12:00pm EDT.

Applications will be open to any Golf Canada members who meet the eligibility criteria.  Given the current federal travel restrictions in place, Golf Canada will not be accepting registration from foreign residents for our championships at this time.  More information on the application procedure will be available on each championship information page.

Please visit www.golfcanada.ca/competitions-calendar/ to register for Golf Canada competitions.  

Golf Canada will also resume calculation of the NextGen National Junior Order of Merit to identify and give recognition to top-performing junior girls and boys across Canada who have achieved success during the 2021 season. The 2021 NextGen National Junior Order of Merit schedule can be viewed here and consists of Canadian events from the period January 1 to August 15, 2021 with a maximum of five (5) counting events for a player’s ranking.

With continued COVID-19 limitations and international travel restrictions, Golf Canada will not track a National Amateur Order of Merit in 2021. Golf Canada is carefully following the impact of the pandemic on international travel and competition and how those factors might impact the Team Canada Selection criteria for 2021/22, which are currently under review and can be accessed here once published.