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Contact:  DuDell & Associates
Heather Swanson 510-704-3888
hswanson@dudell.com

Straight Down the Fairway:  Ace Kids Golf Tees Off for the Future 

Oakland, CA February 4, 2004 – What do more than 250 inner-city youth have to do with golf, and the upcoming AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am?  They’re all part of an Oakland-based program designed to help keep kids off the street, and on the green.   

The brainchild of Henry Loubet, Ace Kids Golf was created in 1998 to introduce less-advantaged youth to the game.  An Oakland-based non-profit organization, it is funded largely by private donations and grants, including a major grant from the United States Golf Association (USGA) and another from AT&T Pebble Beach Charities, which benefits from the annual AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.     

Four levels of golf instruction are offered directly through the Ace Kids Golf Center, and through other organizations.  Ace currently serves youth from the City of Oakland’s 12 community recreation centers, as well as local schools, YMCA and Boys & Girls Clubs.    

Providing everything from transportation to equipment and instruction to students age 9-17, Ace makes it easy for any youth-oriented organization to add golf to its offerings at a very low-cost.  In just five-years over 1000 youth in the Oakland area have benefited through this highly successful service model.     

“It’s about outreach and teamwork,” explains founder Henry Loubet.  “Seventy-five percent of our participants are African-American, and we have almost 50 percent female participation,” he adds.  “Most participants come from single-parent households and inner-city neighborhoods that are hotspots for crime.  We introduce them to the safe, beautiful environment that golf courses offer and a sport that teaches life-skills which extend beyond the game itself.”  

From the six-week introduction, also known as Ace Boot Camp, through advanced instruction, the “Ace Club” mentorship program and pilot projects including Golf in Education and Business and Golf, instructors use an integrated approach to teach the basic fundamentals of the sport along with core values of excellence, respect and dignity.   

“We get the kids outside, doing rather than watching,” explains Ace Executive Director Jeff Callaway, “and incorporate themes like honesty, self-discipline, trust, patience and responsibility into our instruction on the course.”   

The program also teaches academic skills, from mathematics to communications.  Participants learn to keep score and figure the distance from the ball to the green, and are required to use proper terminology rather than slang - communicating in the universal language of golf.  Etiquette and respect are emphasized both on and off the course, and students routinely interact with adult golfers and industry professionals.   

The benefit to students is evident.  “Through golf they learn to listen and to focus. Typically student behavior, courtesy and sportsmanship improve over even a two-week course of instruction,” Callaway observes. 

Ace is currently conducting a major fundraising drive to support its after school and summer programs in 2004.  The cost for each child is just $250.  Cash contributions and individual sponsorships are encouraged, and donations of quality equipment, supplies and accessories are also accepted.  Organizations and individuals can contact Jeff Callaway at 510.238.2196 to make donations or learn more about participating in Kids Golf programs.   

“An investment in Ace is an investment in the future,” says Loubet.  “Golf gives kids an outlet.  It helps them become winners, in life and on the course.”   

About Ace: The Ace Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports Ace Kids Golf.  Its purpose is to ensure that less-advantaged youth receive a thorough awareness of the game and its positive values, by providing them with a quality experience.  The program not only teaches the sport of golf, but teamwork, cooperation, and the development of one’s potential. 

To learn more about Kids Golf programs visit www.acekidsgolf.com, or call 510.238.2196.  Send email to golfersinvisible@aol.com.