Tennessee launches State Team as part of the USGA’s U.S. National Development Program
FRANKLIN, Tenn. (Jan. 17, 2024) — Tennessee is launching a state junior golf team that will expand the pipeline for elite local golfers into the recently created U.S. National Development Program (USNDP), a new initiative launched last February by the United States Golf Association. Tennessee is one of seven states that will participate in the initial phase of the state team pilot program kicking off in 2024 with the goal of all states having a team by 2033.
“It’s truly an honor for all of us at Golf House Tennessee to serve as a pilot state for the U.S. National Development Program’s State Team program,” Allison Brown, executive director for the Tennessee Golf Association said. “This is a complete team effort with all entities of Golf House Tennessee working together to continue showcasing all the remarkable talent here in the Volunteer State.”
“Tennessee has a long and rich history of elite golf at all levels of the game and we believe this program will only elevate that talent.”
The other six participants include California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Ohio. The program will come to fruition through close collaboration between the USGA, its allied golf associations, the PGA of America and its sections and relevant state junior programs. The partnership in Tennessee includes the Tennessee Golf Association, the Tennessee Section PGA and the Tennessee Golf Foundation.
“This first-of-its-kind state team program will serve as a critical part of the talent identification pathway for the USNDP and provide more opportunities for a diverse population of athletes to receive resources and guidance to compete at the highest levels of the game,” says Heather Daly-Donafrio, USGA managing director, Player Relations and Development. “Additionally, the opportunity to represent their home state will incentivize each region’s best junior golfers to play more in-state competitions, ultimately strengthening the junior golf programming across the country.”
The seven states participating in this initial pilot program will each establish a committee consisting of representatives from major golf entities within the state including any AGAs and PGA of America Sections. Tennessee’s team committee includes Allison Brown and Ryan Greer from the Tennessee Golf Association, Clayton Hromdka and Joe Hallett from the Tennessee Section PGA, and Whit Turnbow and Scott Stallings from the Tennessee Golf Foundation.
The committee will oversee team selection criteria and the operation of the Tennessee state team program based on guidelines provided by the USGA. Team selection criteria will be published before the entry deadline of the first event.
State team roster sizes are calculated by elite junior participation in the state, ranging from a maximum of two boys/two girls to 20 boys/20 girls. Tennessee expects to have 16 players as part of the initial team; eight boys and eight girls. To be eligible to compete on a state team in 2024, a player must be a U.S. Citizen. Each eligible player must be 13 years old by Jan. 1, 2025, have not reached their 19th birthday by July 19, 2025, and must not be enrolled in college for the 2024-2025 school year. A Handicap Index® is also required.
Additional eligibility requirements and FAQs can be found at tngolf.org/teamtennessee.
Announced in February of 2023, the USNDP is designed to ensure that American golf is the global leader in the game by focusing on six key pillars: talent identification, access to competition, national teams, athlete resources, player development and relations and athlete financial support. The state team program will focus on creating a developmentally appropriate, aspirational pathway for athletes within each state to compete at higher levels of the game, including an opportunity to represent the United States as a member of the USNDP’s National Team led by former Pepperdine Associate Head Coach Chris Zambri.