12:54 PM

Putting with the Pros: American Family Insurance Championship event brings kids and professional golfers together

First Tee hosts fourth annual skills clinic during tournament week

There was excitement in the air as nearly a hundred young golfers gathered on the grounds of Madison’s University Ridge Golf Course Tuesday. The children came together for the fourth annual Youth Day, an event at the American Family Insurance Championship that connects children with professional golfers in a skills clinic to improve their game.

The children are members of First Tee, a national nonprofit organization that teaches more than golf but also life skills, and the children have been looking forward to the event all year.

“They circle the event on their calendars,” says Joe Loehnis, executive director of First Tee of Southcentral Wisconsin. “The children look forward to meeting professional golfers and being a part of the tournament all year long.”

The young golfers are joined by professionals such as Skip Kendall, Michael Bradley, and long-time First Tee partner and American Family Insurance Championship host Steve Stricker, who look forward to the event as well.

“This is the future of the game. You’ve got to keep the young people interested and involved. I was encouraged at a young age … and you’ve got to keep it going.” says Bradley.

First Tee is dedicated to the continuation of golf by bringing the sport to all children. For many, First Tee serves as a mentorship program, teaching children to be good golfers and better people. The American Family Insurance Championship has been a great way for the organization to further that mentorship.

“Not only are the children involved in the Youth Day clinic, but many stay on to work at the tournament, helping with scoring, handing out course maps, and even assisting caddies,” says Loehnis. “This could inspire career interest and teach professional skills.”

Watch this recap video from yesterday's event;

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