Home » Empowering Youth: KPMG, Mariah Stackhouse & Stephen Curry Open Golf’s Doors – Australian Golf Digest

Empowering Youth: KPMG, Mariah Stackhouse & Stephen Curry Open Golf’s Doors – Australian Golf Digest

No one knows the trajectory of Ashley Shaw’s aspiring golf career yet, but the 15-year-old who recently competed in the LPGA Tour’s Cognizant Founders Cup never would have arrived at this point had it not been for basketball star Stephen Curry’s UNDERRATED Golf presented by KPMG. At age 7, the Phoenix native enlisted in her local First Tee program before eventually joining Curry’s initiative that aims to provide equity, access and opportunity to student-athletes from every community by balancing participation in the sport to truly reflect our society.

Shaw’s success is indicative of what can happen when golf’s doors open to kids who wouldn’t otherwise have a chance. Executives at KPMG recognized UNDERRATED Golf’s vision two years ago and quickly came aboard as title sponsor of the tour. Along with its long-time brand ambassador Mariah Stackhouse, who is currently the only Black full-time member of the LPGA Tour, KPMG set out to not only increase the representation of diverse talent in competitive junior golf, but develop and empower these student athletes as leaders on and off the course. Through the partnership, a new KPMG Leadership Development Day at the season finale Curry Cup was formed. Featuring Stackhouse front and center, the program featured interactive workshops and sessions with leaders across sports, business, and academia on a variety of leadership topics.

Noah Graham

“Golf can be incredibly intimidating to kids who may not feel comfortable in a typical golf setting,” says Stackhouse, who has generously poured her time into the program to help deepen the pipeline of up-and-coming golfers. “You can’t imagine how much a program like this can help give these kids an entirely new level of confidence and a feeling of belonging, let alone give them an opportunity to compete and even excel at a fun game. Plus, with all of the leadership-development training that KPMG and UNDERRATED Golf are providing together, maybe some of these children can go on to become leaders and executives in the golf community. It’s an eye-opener.”

Currently less than two percent of all golfers are Black or Latinx. The goal is to elevate participation of these communities up to 26 percent to better reflect and represent the overall society, ensuring everyone has an equal opportunity to play. This can be encouraged by opening access for these underrepresented communities to golf courses, equipment, and green fees, as well as the private and members-only nature of many golf facilities.

Stephen Curry's UNDERRATED Golf Curry Cup At Lake Merced Country Club, August 22

Noah Graham

Opening these doors for today’s youth to hone their golf skills in a safe and welcoming environment allows them to prosper beyond the course as well. After all, golf is known as the sport of business – advantageous to build networks and develop relationships. Equipped with the leadership skills these students are learning through the sport and being cultivated while competing on the UNDERRATED Golf tour, they’ll be better equipped to enter other fields.

Like Shaw, some of the talented young golfers may earn college scholarships or even get their shot at a pro debut. What Curry, Stackhouse and KPMG hope is that over time the pipeline of diverse talent will grow considerably and that ultimately the way the sport looks will be changed.

Visit UNDERRATED.golf/united-statesto learn more.

This article was originally published on golfdigest.com