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Junior Golf: “Growing The Game” – Lucas Black

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Holy Cow, he did it again!

John (Westy) Weston, President of the Columbia Golf Foundation was sitting at home watching Mizzou basketball on TV when his cell phone rang. The call was from Lucas Black.Yes, that same Lucas Black who burst on the movie scene in 1996 as Frank Wheatley in Sling Blade, starred as quarterback  Mike Winchell in Friday Night Lights, and more recently starred in 42, The Jackie Robinson Story and Seven Days in Utopia. Yep, that guy…

Lucas was playing in the AT&T Pebble Beach Golf Championship’s celebrity pro-am. Two years ago in this same tournament, he was paired with Chris Berman of ESPN. They won the championship and the cash prize for their favorite charity when Lucas chipped it in on the playoff hole. The Columbia Golf Foundation was the recipient of $20,000.00 because of that chip-in. Does lightening strike twice? Not likely.

Lucas and Westy are friends and share a love of golf. When Lucas is out of town working on a movie or TV show, they speak often on the phone. So, John answered the phone. After Lucas told John why he was calling, all John could say was, “Wow.”

In this year’s tournament, Lucas was partnered with actor Andy Garcia. No, he didn’t chip it in for a win. He made a five foot birdie putt this time. The purse was $60,000.00 to be split between the two players, so Lucas’ share was $30,000.00 and the Columbia Golf Foundation was about to receive a $25,000.00 check to help defray the Foundation’s expenses for their “Golf in Schools” program.

“I am blessed to have the opportunity to contribute”

Lucas lives in Columbia with his wife and two small children. He is a huge advocate of junior golf. When in town, he can be found at one of the Columbia Golf Foundation events helping teach kids how to swing the golf club. In 2012 he recorded a video dedicated to encouraging elementary schools to incorporate golf into their physical education program for their students. The Columbia Golf Foundation needed to raise $15,000.00 in order to initiate their “Golf in Schools” program in Columbia. Lucas was one of the main sponsors.

“I love what we are doing and things are looking up for the future.”

The website www.columbiagolffoundation.org states “The Columbia Golf Foundation’s vision and motivation is to bring the game of golf to the youth of mid-Missouri, regardless of their background or status. We believe the values that golf instills in its participants don’t just impact how you play the game, but how you live your life. It is our goal to not only make the youth of mid-Missouri better golfers, but also better people. Every CGF youth program strives to teach these values to the participants in an environment of fun and healthy physical activity.” CGF, as the organization is more popularly known, promotes the values of Integrity, Honesty, Respect, Perseverance, Appropriate Conduct and Appearance in all of its activities.

The Columbia Golf Foundation currently has a variety of programs. They sponsor clinics for all ages of young people, seminars for the local high school golf teams, city championships for men and women, and The Boyce-Digges Cup. They have created and maintain the Columbia Golf Hall of Fame. Last year they started the “Golf in Schools” program for the Columbia Public Elementary Schools.

When he was asked about such a variety of programs, Weston explained. “It really is a step by step program. Kids are introduced to golf at a really young age by our clinics, and the junior programs at the various country clubs. With golf now being included in the elementary schools, what the kids learned earlier is reinforced in school.”

“We also sponsor the City Championships which include the Women’s, Senior’s, Super Seniors as well as the overall championship. We initiated the Boyce-Diggs Cup three years ago. It is a Ryder Cup type competition between the best Amateur and Senior players in the Jefferson City area versus similar players from Columbia and surrounding counties. The Hall of Fame honors those in the community that have contributed to the game of golf locally.

“This year we will begin our Golf League program. This is patterned after the baseball Little League that has been so successful in developing baseball players. Additionally, Little League baseball has provided great enjoyment for the kids and at the same time teaches them about the game. We envision our Golf League doing the same.”

  “When the whole community of Columbia gets behind this deal,

 the opportunities for the kids are unlimited.” 

When Weston was asked how the organization would use the additional funds, he answered, “Lucas is so devoted to the Golf in Schools that we started last year, we are going to expand that program to other communities in Central Missouri. We are presently going to the surrounding counties and offering to partner with local business and provide Golf in Schools to the elementary students in their home town. In this way we can almost double the amount of Lucas’s contribution and expand the number of students who will learn of the values that golf teaches.

“We in Columbia are so fortunate to have Lucas living here. Not only does he embody all of our values as an individual, he is also an outstanding golfer. He is such an outstanding role model for the older kids who know who he is. Many of the kids at the clinics are too young to understand that he is a movie star, but whether a high school golfer or elementary school beginner, they all appreciate his sincerity in trying to help them not only be better golfers, but also to be better individuals.”

“Reach for the sky my friends.”

Lucas Black is a scratch golfer and a Movie and TV star. He is also a father and a friend. His commitment to golf and the values that it teaches, and to the Columbia Golf Foundation as the vehicle to bring those values to as many young people as possible is exemplified in his financial commitment to young people of Columbia. As Westy said, “What can you say except, Thanks.”

It is the tears shining in Westy’s eyes that reveal the true dedication.

Lucas, from all of us in the Golf Community, and a whole bunch of kids, thanks.

 

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The Missouri Golf Post is a monthly digital magazine that “celebrates the people who play the game.” Each monthly issue contains several “feature” stories on golfers, golf courses, and/or major tournaments of interest statewide. Each issue contains a number of regular departments on topics such as Tournament Summaries, Fitness, “The Superintendent’s Corner,” Instruction, and Rules.

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