Jack Nicklaus To Launch Nationwide Learning League Golf Program In Spring '13
Jack Nicklaus has "decided to put his considerable clout behind a proposal to form golf leagues using equipment developed by SNAG Golf, a small, closely held company in Tahlequah, Okla.," according to John Paul Newport of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. If all goes "according to plan, about 300 Jack Nicklaus Learning Leagues will pop up this spring in city parks-and-recreation departments across the country, with a further 500 in 2014 and as many as 1,000 additional local programs a year after that." The leagues will operate much like youth soccer and basketball leagues, "with minimal cost for the kids." SNAG, which stands for Starting New at Golf, produces equipment that "makes it easy for beginners, both kids and adults, to learn the fundamentals of the game." Nicklaus said, "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." Newport noted more than 11,000 facilities in the U.S. and 4,000 abroad currently "use SNAG, including many First Tee programs." The Nicklaus Learning Leagues will "use municipal soccer fields" because creating a six-hole course with SNAG equipment "takes less than 30 minutes to set up." The Nicklaus Leagues will "build on a two-year pilot program in 15 cities run by the National Recreation and Parks Association." For five and six year olds in the Nicklaus Leagues, the emphasis will "be on whacking the ball around and having fun." Seven and eight year olds will "get more instruction and compete with partners in best-ball format against other teams," while nine and 10 year olds will "compete as a team with stroke-play scoring." Plans "are afoot for leagues involving older kids and even adults" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/8).