NCGA Golf

Spring 2017

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WWW.NCGA.ORG | SPRING 2017 29 Growing up on hardscrabble streets didn't deter Preston Pinkney from embracing life's fairways. "I 'm from Richmond, we didn't have too much money growing up and the n eighborhood I lived in was very poor and just the whole mentality was a neg- ative one," reflects Pinkney. "We'd say, 'Richmond has a dark cloud over it.'" For Pinkney, the light of golf crested t he clouds via the power of Oakland- based Ace Kids Golf. Created in 1998, Ace's mission is to introduce less-advantaged youth in Northern California to the game. In 2000, with no golf backdrop, the man they call "Coach P" joined Ace as a program trainee and driver. "The impact the game made on me was so significant," said Pinkney. "It changed my outlook on life and just got me so excited about life's possibilities and what the world of golf could bring as far as my full potential in my liveli- hood. And I wanted to share that with all the youth in Oakland." Now Ace's program director, Pinkney is indeed sharing those possibilities one kid at a time, and his dedication has helped the program grow from 100 participants in 2000 to more than 400 kids now annually served. Such an augmentation is in no small part due to its program director never shying from a challenge. "A few year's back we were scheduled for golf at one of our rec centers," Pinkney remembers. "I showed up and asked for the kids, and they said there were no kids for me that day. I found the kids on the basketball court, and they were just really disinterested in golf. So I said, 'I'll play your best player one-on-one. If I win, you go play golf; if I lose, I'll leave y'all alone.' Long story short, I beat the best player, the kids jumped in the van for golf and participated in the program for eight weeks." Li and Noh team up with ANA to benefit NCGA T here's no right age to start giving back. Redwood Shores resident Lucy Li and Concord resident Yealimi Noh are prime examples of that. The 14-year-old Li and Noh, 15, were the catalysts in the NCGA receiving a $10,000 donation from ANA (All Nippon Airways) as part of the annual ANA Junior Inspiration, which is run in conjunction with the LPGA Tour's ANA Inspiration. Each of the 40 juniors competing in the ANA Junior, which included Li and Noh, could designate a golf related organization to receive a $5,000 grant. The duo, who are both members of the Junior Tour of Northern California, (which is co-jointly operated by the NCGA and Northern California PGA) and Youth on Course, chose the NCGA as a benefactor. "We are grateful for the generous gift from ANA, Lucy and Yealimi, which will go a long way in supporting junior girls' golf. Through Youth on Course, the Junior Tour of Northern California and hosting the 2018 USGA Girls' Junior at Poppy Hills, the NCGA is very proud of our support for the game and the young players who benefit from our programs," NCGA Executive Director Joe Huston said. "It's particularly special to be recognized by two of our outstanding junior members." Li would end up winning the ANA Inspiration Junior, earning an automatic spot into the following week's ANA Inspiration, the first LPGA major of the year.

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