The South Texas Golf Course Superintendents Association (STGCSA) is very fortunate to have established a positive relationship with the Houston Golf Association (HGA). The HGA is the organization responsible for the administration of the PGA Houston Open and also has a successful Junior Golf Association of which STGCSA is involved. HGA awards many charities funds raised at these tournaments. One such benefactor is the Chinquapin School located in east Harris County.
Chinquapin is a non-profit college preparatory school for economically disadvantaged youth, grades 7-12, from the Houston area. The boys live on campus Monday - Friday and the girls are transported daily. The purpose of the school is to give the students the opportunity to receive quality education in a caring, family oriented environment. Only one in four is accepted into the Chinquapin School, which has an enrollment of 120 students.
The school is located on 32 acres at 2615 Wallisville Road, Highlands, Texas - approximately 30 minutes east of downtown Houston. Like all schools, there is a serious need for fun and relaxation to go along with academics. In the late 70’s, the HGA decided to designate Chinquapin School as one of its primary charities. With the HGA’s generous support over the years, the school has been able to build baseball and soccer fields, along with new dormitories for the boys. The tradition at Chinquapin is that everyone pulls his or her own weight. In return, the students work at the Houston Open, carrying scores signs and parking cars.
With the new interest in the game of golf among young people and the interest of the students working at The Houston Open, there became a need for some type of golf activity at Chinquapin. HGA Youth Director Julian Robelcian approached STGCSA in 1999 about our association getting involved. It was decided that we would build a putting green / chipping green, complete with sand trap. Pat Loan, maintenance director at Chinquapin, and the students agreed to maintain this green. Not only do the students get to learn about the game of golf, they get to learn what it takes to maintain a golf green. A few calls were made to our local vendors for materials to build the green and mowing equipment to maintain it. Throw in a few weekends by superintendents, and the project was accomplished in a short amount of time. Each year we have a small Christmas tree at our annual Christmas party on which to place donations. We give this to the school to purchase fertilizer, chemicals and flags. I travel to Chinquapin about once a month to check on the green and to answer maintenance questions they may have. Watching the enjoyment of the students makes the effort very rewarding.
This project has been so successful we are increasing our involvement. The HGA junior program is responsible for running 15-18 junior tournaments each summer. In 2000, STGCSA decided to get more involved with these tournaments. Today, we are the sponsor of the year end Junior Golf Championships. Our association donates $1,500 for trophies and prizes to the champions. Watching the intensity with which these kids compete may be the best $1,500 we spend as an organization. The HGA and the STGCSA have become two professional organizations working closely together for the same reasons - to grow the game of golf for our future generations to enjoy. I’m truly proud of STGCSA for our involvement in these worthwhile causes and appreciative of the HGA for being such a great partner.
Submitted by Terry Gill, STGCSA Past President
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