The name Payne Stewart will forever be etched in our minds and memories not only as an elite golfer who won 11 PGA TOUR tournaments, including three major championships, but also as the dapper dresser in signature knickers and a flat cap who dramatically holed a final putt to defeat a young Phil Mickelson at the 1999 U.S. Open. This popular and inspiring champion with one of the game’s most fluid swings died tragically at the age of 42 in a plane accident.
A key aspect of Stewart’s legacy, as directed by his wife Tracey, is to help lower-income and inner-city kids across the country learn the game of golf. To achieve that goal, the Payne Stewart Kids Golf Foundation was created to design groundbreaking youth programs that would have a broader reach than conventional programs.
The resulting Payne Stewart Golf Experience (Camps & Clinics) is a true introductory golf program designed to compete with little kickers soccer, t-ball, and other youth sport development programs. Targeting kids ages 4-9, the games-based play programming and the use of modified golf learning equipment will make it easier for kids to hit the ball and experience early success at the camps and clinics. By using gymnasiums, parking lots, athletic fields, and similar spaces, Payne Stewart Golf Experiences (Camps & Clinics) advance Payne’s vision by creating new golf spaces that give more families with kids the ability to learn and play golf, especially to kids in need and inner-city families.
The Payne Stewart Kids Golf Foundation supports the expansion of these golf learning experiences for kids in lower-income and inner-city locations. Donations to the Foundation fund modified golf learning equipment, “kids in need” scholarships, and entire inner-city programs.
“Our goal with the Payne Stewart Kids Golf Foundation is to support this introductory golf program by raising funds to help expand the number of camp locations, provide adequate equipment, give families in need an opportunity to participate, and assist with other donation opportunities,” says Dan Anderson, COO/CMO and co-developer of the Foundation. “We have flipped the traditional golf paradigm on its head by helping bring golf to kids away from the golf course. We partner with churches, YMCA’s, and other missionally aligned organizations to create unique spaces to play and learn golf closer to home.”
The overriding mission of the Payne Stewart Kids Golf Foundation is to develop healthy kids for life through the fun of golf. The faith-based life skills curriculum coupled with the game-based golf skill development program, gives kids a fun introductory experience that creates well-rounded, life-long citizens in sport and life. Our hope is that more kids from all backgrounds will have the opportunity to enter into the next phase of traditional youth golf programs including PGA Junior Golf Camps.
In 2021, there will be more than 50 Payne Stewart Golf Camps & Clinics running in the U.S.
“Payne would be so proud to know that his name lives on by helping young golfers learn the game he so loved,” said Tracey Stewart. “The Payne Stewart Kids Golf Foundation and the fun golf experiences at camps and clinics will bring the game of golf to kids of every background and socio-economic class with the core fundamentals of Faith, Family and Fun.”
For more information about the Payne Stewart Kids Golf Foundation please visit www.paynestewart.org. An overview of the clinics and camps can be seen at Golf Life TV, Fall 2020 episode: https://vimeo.com/475671318