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Lonnie Poole Golf Course Honored for Youth Access

NC State's course has hosted more than 1,900 rounds for Youth on Course members during the 2020 calendar year, the most of any course in the Carolinas.

Flag waves on a green at Lonnie Poole Golf Course.
The Lonnie Poole Golf Course is home to NC State’s men’s and women’s golf teams as well as academic and research programs.

One of the many goals of NC State’s Lonnie Poole Golf Course when it opened a dozen years ago was to provide an affordable and accessible place for junior players to learn and play the game.

Last week, the Arnold Palmer-design layout on Centennial Campus was recognized by the HV3 Foundation for hosting the most number of rounds played by Youth on Course Carolinas members.

The foundation, established by the Carolinas Golf Association and sponsored since 2019 by PGA Tour golfer Harold Varner III, seeks to improve access in multiple sports to young athletes in all sports. For a one-time membership fee of $10, YOC members can play more than 50 courses in both states for just $5 per round.

The Lonnie Poole Golf Course — home to NC State’s men’s and women’s golf teams, the turfgrass management and stormwater research programs and the Professional Golf Management program — hosted more than 1,900 rounds for Youth on Course members during the 2021 calendar year, the most of any course in either state.

In addition to its YOC membership, the course has multiple programs for junior players, including golf camps for players 18 and under and a little league golf program for players 5–7 years old.

The 34-year-old Wolfpack Golf Schools has conducted multiple sessions per year at LPGC since the course opened and in 2022 will host the popular father/child golf school in June.

The LPGC Little League, a spinoff from the PGA Junior League program, hosts more than 100 young players in each of its three annual sessions (spring, summer and fall) and in its continuing education program.

Head professional Scott Clagg was nominated for the Carolinas PGA Junior Golf leader award.

Currently, the LPGC instructional staff has among its students several of the state’s top 50 players.

“Our mission at Lonnie Poole Golf Club and as PGA professionals is to grow the game of golf,” says LPGC general manager Chip Watson. “Our commitment to junior golf is phenomenal, and our programs and accolades show that.

“We plan to always be a home for junior golfers hoping to learn the game and hopefully some continue on to be great junior, college and professional players. We may even be able to recruit some for our PGA Professional Golf Management program and the university golf teams.”

Two North Carolina youth players, Kaylee Nguyen of Charlotte and Christian Beeker of Greensboro, were honored by the HV3 Foundation for playing the most Youth on Course Carolinas courses.

“Youth on Course is a life-changing program for the golf industry,” Varner says. “Allowing kids of all backgrounds to play the game without placing financial burdens on families is a game changer. I’m so appreciative of the support I had as a junior golfer and have been fortunate to be able to give back to the next generation of young golfers.

“I’ve always been passionate about making the game more open and accessible and YOC has shown they share my goals. I’m so excited to be a part of the team and help make a difference for these kids.”