When Annika created the ANNIKA Foundation more than 10 years ago, her goal was simple – she wanted to offer aspiring junior golfers opportunities to pursue their dreams. From this humble and noble beginning, the Foundation has grown into a global platform, annually hosting tournaments on four continents and, to date, impacting thousands of girls and young women from more than 50 countries.
Each year we conduct five major golf events for juniors: the ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex, ANNIKA Invitational at Mission Hills in China, ANNIKA Invitational Europe, ANNIKA Cup in Sweden and ANNIKA Invitational Latin America in Argentina. They are complemented by the ANNIKA Intercollegiate presented by 3M, which boasts the strongest field in women’s college golf, and the ANNIKA Award presented by 3M, which is annually bestowed to the most outstanding female Division I golfer.
And while on-course excellence is celebrated, our “More than Golf” mission is always front-and-center, as evidenced by programming focused on the game’s myriad off-course benefits. For example, the importance of nutrition and exercise are showcased to competitors as integral to lifelong wellness.
Given this holistic emphasis, one might think the quality of golf would suffer. It doesn’t. In fact, since the Foundation’s inaugural tournament – the 2009 ANNIKA Invitational USA – more than 30 ANNIKA event alumnae have earned LPGA cards, while 500-plus have played at the collegiate level.
So with the 10th edition of the ANNIKA Invitational USA presented by Rolex coming up this month, the team thought the time was right to take stock of what’s been accomplished thus far, and where the Foundation wants to go over the next 10 years. Part of this roadmap for the future includes a tweak of the Foundation logo, and a revamp of the website. The website work in particular was undertaken with the goal of it becoming even more of a go-to resource for event participants and junior golfers around the world.
But even more important than the cosmetic changes is a commitment to solidifying our leadership position in junior golf. Did you know the number of junior golfers (ages 6-17) in the U.S. grew more than 20% from 2.4 million in 2011 to 2.9 million in 2016? Research by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association and National Golf Foundation shows this is the largest jump in total volume compared to soccer, basketball, football, baseball and other youth sports.
Moreover, the National Golf Foundation reports female participation in the sport has increased by more than 13% over the last five years, with female junior golf increasing its share from 23 to 33%. These trends are obviously terrific for the long-term vitality of the game, and we’re proud to continue to do our part to ensure they continue to move in the right direction.
We hope you like the new logo and find the website more user-friendly and informative. We’re super excited to unveil them as we embark on our second decade as tournament hosts and promoter of girls’ junior and collegiate golf. The game’s future has never been brighter and we remain dedicated to inspiring as many young players as possible!