In 2002, a gentleman named Gene Dann read an article about a junior golf program taking place in inner-city Milwaukee. Intrigued, he planned a trip to the north to learn more about the golf program—he was instantly inspired. When he returned to St. Louis, he cornered golf club members, including Charlie Rallo and Paul Wunderlich, to help him to create a camp in town with a mission to grow the game and teach golf to Missouri youth.
The Golf Foundation of Missouri's (GFM) first golf camp actually took place east of the Mississippi, at Camp Wartburg in Illinois. A handful of kids attended a week-long camp where they not only learned how to play the game of golf, but also learned wilderness camping skills. Taking key learnings from the pilot golf camp, the newly-formed GFM refined the camp's mission to expanding underprivileged youth's horizons through the game of golf about what is possible in life.
In 2003, the camp moved to its current home, the Highlands Golf Course in Forest Park (formerly Triple A Tennis and Golf Club). In its early years, 10-15 campers attended golf camp twice a week and were taught by local PGA Professionals.
Since then, GFM has partnered with various local and national non-profits such as Matthews-Dickey, Girls Inc., Gene Slay's Boys & Girls Club, Urban K Life, Kingdom House, and Playtime & Recreation. Through these relationships, our camp has grown to an attendance of over 100 campers a day, four days a week.
But our foundation's story is far from over. As we continue to live our mission, we are continually looking to expand the reach and impact of our foundation for the future of Missouri youth and the game of golf.
Growing the Game of Golf Since 2002
Committed to our Purpose