The nonprofit's new G.O.A.L.S. program to kick off soon and use golf as a tool for enhancing the lives of children with disabilities.
"When we started our original Little Linksters program in 2008, we knew then that golf was an amazing tool to teach very young children many aspects of life as well a fitness and other areas of importance in their development; this new direction however is very, very special and we are very excited" Explains PGA Professional and Little Linksters Association for Junior Golf Development founder, Brendon Elliott. "The idea behind our soon to launch G.O.A.L.S program is to use those core beliefs we have and reach out to children with special needs." adds Elliott.
What is G.O.A.L.S?
G.O.A.L.S stands for Golf Outreach Advances Life Skills. This simple acronym will be the cornerstone of this new offering from the Little Linksters Association for Junior Golf Development. The 501c3 was founded in December of 2011 as a spinoff of the original Little Linksters program that was founded by multiple award winning PGA Professional Brendon Elliott in 2008. "The objective behind the
G.O.A.L.S. program is to bring the game of golf to all children regardless of disability. Golf teaches skills that will help these children in every aspect of their life. The need is there and it is great. Community support is crucial." explains Maria Weber, the Director of Community Relations for One Hope United. Weber will serve as the new volunteer Director of Fundraising & Grants for the Little Linksters Association for Junior Golf Development.
One of the first students with special needs to come to Little Linksters was 9 year old Marcus. "At a time that my staff and I were just starting early discussions about introducing a program such as G.O.A.L.S., we received a phone call from Marcus's mother Paola. She had signed him up for one of our sessions but was somewhat hesitant to let us know about his having Cerebral Palsy. She explained that he had tried other sports and activities but had not yet found "His Thing" or something he could call his own." Elliott explains.
"To see my son smile and feel proud when hitting that golf ball is what I pray he will feel in everything he does. To be able to enjoy and be proud of himself, regardless of the limitations, is what the Little Linksters has brought him." Marcus mother explains.
"Marcus was the spark that ignited the passion for myself and my staff to take action on an idea that could be so beneficial for so many children." Elliott said.
"Thank you for your understanding, patience and the support you have given my son Marcus! I knew I found the right place when he said "Mom, I am a golfer now, let's celebrate" after his first lesson." Paola said.
"I am very fortunate that I have found some great students from those I teach at the Golf Academy of America that have stepped up in a big way as instructors for us, especially now, as we breathe life into this program. Chad Ristow, my lead instructor and Miriam Piland-Rice, my Director of Special Needs Programming are incredible and I am proud to have them as part of the team. Miriam's passion for working with special needs children and here extensive background in special education and Chad is just flat out a great instructor, for kids and adults." Elliott explains. "I have other great instructors such as Jack Van Dyken and Stewart O'Malley who are current and past students of mine from the college that are ready to push our mission forward as instructors for Little Linksters. I have an amazing pipeline of other talent young instructors in the making from the GAA that I am proud to mentor and mold going forward." Elliott added.
How Businesses & Individuals Can Help...
The Little Linksters Association for Junior Golf Development has put together numerous ways people from the community can help the organization and their programming. Those interested in helping can go to the following link: http://littlelinksters.com/how-you-can-help/.You can also contact the organization's Director of Fundraising & Grants, Maria Weber at Maria@LittleLinksters.com
"The idea ultimately is to reduce our costs and the fees we have to charge parents for all our programs as much as possible and give more children the chance to take part. We also would love to spread our mission and program outside of Central Florida, the state and eventually the country." Explains Elliott.
More about the Little Linksters Association for Junior Golf Development & PGA Professional Brendon Elliott
Since July of 2008, the Little Linksters Golf program has brought the game of golf to a typically non- traditional sect of the golfing population; the "Pee-Wee" Golfer (Ages 3-8). The Little Linksters Golf Program is a great introduction to the game of golf for all children in this age group. The program is
taught in a fun and interactive way using a combination of both traditional golf instruction methods and very non-traditional ways. The bottom line with the Little Linksters program is FUN!
The program is run by PGA Golf Professional Brendon Elliott. Brendon is the former General Manager/Head Golf Professional at the historic Winter Park Country Club located in downtown Winter Park, FL. Elliott was with WPCC for 13 years. He resigned from his position in July of 2011 to focus solely on the expansion of Little Linksters. Brendon, along with his wife Melisa are the owners of Little Linksters, LLC and the Little Linksters Association for Junior Golf Development which is their 501c3 Non-Profit organization. The home office of the company is in Deltona, FL.
In August of 2011, in a second phase of expansion, the Little Linksters Golf Academy @ Metrowest Golf Club located in Orlando, FL was opened. The Academy was later moved to Wekiva Golf Club in Longwood, FL in September of 2013.
The Little Linksters "mobile" program which is ran by the Little Linksters Association for Junior Golf Development, has been run at various daycare centers, schools, and municipalities in the Winter Park, FL, Lake Mary, FL and Deltona, FL areas since July of 2008. "Expansion of the program is in the works" said PGA Golf Professional Brendon Elliott, the founder and lead instructor of Little Linksters, LLC. "After almost four years of running our "pilot" or "test" programs, we have started taking steps toward taking this central Florida based, part-time business and program to a broader, national market. In early 2010, we re-branded, created an easy to follow program guide/coloring book and started putting a great package together for other PGA and LPGA Professionals to eventual purchase an implement in their area so that they too may be able to share in the rewarding work of bringing golf and all of the lessons that it teaches to the littlest of golfers. The time frame now to launch our "National Program" will be sometime in late 2013â€³ said Elliott.
The Little Linksters Association for Junior Golf Development will be the vehicle that will launch the acclaimed Little Linksters Golf Program to areas nationwide in the near future.
Elliott, is a 2010, 2011 & 2012 US Kids Golf Top 50 Kids Teacher, a 2012 Top 50 Growth of the Game Instructor as named by the Golf Range Association of America, the 2011, 2012 & 2013 ECC Junior Golf Leader and the 2011, 2012 & 2013 NFPGA Junior Golf Leader award winner. He was a finalist for the PGA's National Junior Leader award in 2012 and 2013.
Elliott was a guest on the Golf Channels Morning Drive in April of 2013 along with Dottie Pepper and Alan Wronowski. The threesome spoke on many different junior golf initiatives that are available to children of all ages. You can see a clip of Elliott's appearance here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUaLx2p7tO8
Elliott is the President of the East Central Chapter of the NFPGA Section. He is also a NFPGA Section Board member. He is Chairman of the ECC Junior Golf Committee as well as the NFPGA Junior Golf Committee. Brendon also is a member of the PGA of America's 2012-2014 National Youth Player Development Committee and the 2012-2014 Public Relations & Communications Committee.
Elliott is a PGA Staff Professional at the Golf Academy of America in Orlando, FL where he teaches numerous courses in the business of golf.
Little Linksters, LLC
Oversees the following:
• The Little Linksters Golf Academy at Wekiva Golf Club (Private Lessons)
• In-Home lessons
• Online Instruction
• Sales of the Little Linksters Coloring Book
Little Linksters Association for Junior Golf Development (501c3)
Oversees the following:
• The Little Linksters "Mobile" Program (At locations throughout Central FL)
• The Little Linksters "Tour" Series
• The Best Pee Wee Swing in the Workd Video Contest
• Soon to launch "National Certification Program"
• Speaking on and Promoting Junior Golf for younger kids
The goal of Little Linksters, LLC and the Little Linksters Association for Junior Golf Development is to provide children from ages three years to eight years of age with quality introductory golf instruction and to expose them to all of the wonderful life lessons that the wonderful game of golf teaches us all. "Although our target group is children ages three through eight, we will not limit ourselves solely to those age groups. Additionally, Little Linksters will strive to be a leader in the "Pee-Wee" golf arena and provide tools and information to all PGA Professionals, educators and parents that share in our vision. To accomplish our goal, we will provide services and products at reasonable rates, be responsive to the needs of our customers, and make ourselves available as much as possible to our patrons" Elliott states.
PGA & LPGA Professionals interested in learning how they can get involved, become a Little Linksters "Certified Instructor" and offer Little Linksters programs in their area can go here: http://littlelinksters.com/history/certified-instructo-information-pga-lpga/
If you are a business or individual interested in become a sponsor or partner you can go here: http://littlelinksters.com/how-you-can-help/
Little Linksters Association for Junior Golf Development Phone 321-278-1611
PO Box 6384