Alan Fowler has a long-term vision, and he’s on a mission to extend access to the golf course for those who’ve probably never touched a club before.
The first step in the process is a Ryder Cup-style golf tournament today and Tuesday to raise proceeds for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County and YMCA. That part was a resounding success with 28 players —many high school players and coaches — signing up to play and raising $1,000 for these two non-profit organizations.
“My main goal is to give kids a chance to start playing golf that have never played before,” said Fowler, a North Hall High graduate and junior on Georgia State’s golf team.
Fowler says that his idea has been welcomed with open arms by the J.A. Walters Family YMCA President & CEO Mike Brown. The long-term goal for all the money raised is to bring a small facility to the YMCA campus for teenagers that benefit from its programs to learn the game and values through playing golf.
“Golf is a game that teaches perseverance, honesty and respect for others,” Fowler said. “I want them to be able to look back in a couple of years and say ‘golf made me a better person.’”
One of the main needs to start his initiative is a healthy supply of golf clubs. So far, Fowler has stockpiled approximately 100 clubs that will go toward the effort. He’s also working with club manufacturer representatives to see what can be done to facilitate his effort. Local high school golf coaches Bryson Worley of Gainesville, and Fowler’s former coach Robert Mills from North Hall, are also going to use their platform to spread the word about the program.
“Alan is one of those that understands what he was able to get out of the game,” Mills said. “And he wants to be able to give back.”
Today’s golf tourney at Chicopee Woods was welcomed with open arms by course officials. Along with the players on the course, Fowler is bringing in the band Playside Sterero, a group made up of friends from high school to play at the event. In the future, Chicopee Woods will also serve as a location for those that benefit from the program to practice at a reduced rate.
“As soon as I started trying to organize this, I talked to Chicopee Woods and they were all for it,” Fowler said.
Fowler also plans to help teach the fundamentals with the young people involved with the program when he gets a break from his obligations at Georgia State.
Fowler first felt the need to get involved with philanthropy after playing the First Tee Open at Pebble Beach Golf Course in 2004 and 2005. His original plan was to help launch a local chapter of the First Tee program, but was unable to see that goal to fruition with an oversaturation of First Tee chapters, he said. However, First Tee representatives gave Fowler the steps he needed to follow in order to organize a program of a similar nature in Hall County.
Fowler finally put the plan in motion after thinking about getting things off the ground last month. When he got a warm reception from Brown, as well as those at Chicopee Woods, he was ready to get things started.
Now, he hopes to see golf reach a whole new generation right here at home that may have never played the sport without this effort.