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White Lake Youth Golf Foundation continues support of Montague, Whitehall high schools

For third year, WLYGF donates funds to support White Lake high school programs as it aims to grow the game.

Photos by Courtney Jimison | CatchMark

WHITEHALL — Montague and Whitehall are fierce rivals, even on the golf course. At the end of the day, however, they both share the White Lake bond.

The White Lake Youth Golf Foundation is trying to grow the game locally and that applies to all Wildcats and Vikings. The foundation is backing that up financially, too.

On Tuesday at CatchMark Technologies, WLYGF president Frank Wierengo and treasurer Randy Lindquist presented $1,000 donations to boys and girls high school golf coaches for both Montague and Whitehall.

Montague boys coach Brad Tate and Montague girls coach Phil Kerr as well as Whitehall boys and girls coach Bill Borgman received custom-printed large checks to commemorate the occasion. This is the third year that the White Lake Junior Golf Foundation has presented donations to the respective high schools.

“Our mission is about supporting and advancing youth golf in the Greater White Lake area, and what better way to do that than to help our local youth teams compete at the highest level possible,” said Lindquist, who is a proud Montague alumnus. “We want to help them and support them any way we can.”

Said Wierengo: “We want to begin our involvement with the youth of White Lake at an early stage, and if we do, we’re providing a pipeline of talent into the high schools’ future. High school golfers will become college golfers (and) will become lifelong golfers.”

According to Wierengo, the cause is very much supported by White Lake Golf Club. It’s a 501(c)3 charitable foundation and the WLGC membership has been “very generous with donations,” holding fund-raising events and looking for other ways to raise money.

The WLYCF looks to continue to support the White Lake community and its high schools for years to come.

In this file photo, Montague boys golf coach Brad Tate leads the awards presentation during an MHSAA Division 3 regional June 1, 2022, at Old Channel Trail in Montague, Mich. (Brent Raeth | CatchMark)

“I just think it’s an amazing thing that’s going on for the entire White Lake area, for all the schools, for all the kids,” Tate said. “It warms my heart to know how many kids this is going to help, how many families (for which) this is going to make it affordable. I’m just very excited about this.”

Borgman, who is the Head PGA Professional at White Lake Golf Club, said the donations from the youth golf foundation go a long way toward help cover costs that families would otherwise have to incur.

Wierengo is hoping that as the Montague and Whitehall high school golf teams continue to improve, the White Lake Youth Golf Foundation can increase its financial support of them.

Lindquist believes it’s very important for the game of golf in this area. White Lake has produced its shared of top-notch golfers over the years and he would like to see that continue as today’s youth are supported and promoted.

In this file photo, Montague girls golf coach Phil Kerr poses with his team after the Wildcats captured a second straight MHSAA Division 4 state championship Oct. 16, 2021, at Forest Akers East in East Lansing, Mich. (Scott DeCamp | CatchMark)

“I think it’s amazing. One of the biggest pitfalls of golf is access and their main vision is giving access to kids and families that may or may not have that access,” Kerr said. “I think all of us, even though we’re competitive and some of our big goals are the high school teams, at the heart of it (is), we just want to grow the game in the area and create lifelong golfers, even if they never play on our team.”

Said Borgman: “It’s a big advantage, for sure. Obviously we are competitive against each other when we are, but we also cheer each other on, too. We love to see all our kids excel, both the boys and the girls teams (for both schools). It’s a wonderful thing.”

Wierengo tipped his cap to Borgman, Kerr, and Tate as being “fantastic” coaches who not only teach the game of golf, but demonstrate to young people how to be good, responsible adults.

In Tate’s opinion, the beauty of golf is it ultimately leads to a “lifelong game of lifelong friendships.”

“These kids and these families, this foundation that’s been built, it’s going to impact their families. The fact that (WLYGF) had the foresight to think of having something like this, and the fact that there’s a pro like coach Borgman here who is willing to offer instruction, it’s been a huge role in having all of this take place,” Tate said. “It’s unique and it’s awesome about our community that we love athletics but we’re always pulling for each other and this is something that I think everyone can get behind.”

Said Kerr: “It’s a great opportunity. They’re finding different ways to help our programs, whether it’s with camps and building the youth or direct donations like this that will go to our high school kids and instantly impact them. I think they are pioneers with this and when other places around the county, maybe around the state, catch wind of what’s going on, it might inspire some other people to do the same thing.”

In this file photo, Whitehall coach Bill Borgman, far left, poses with the Vikings’ girls team as it competed in the MHSAA Division 3 state finals Oct. 20-21, 2023, at The Meadows on the campus of Grand Valley State University. (Courtesy of Jerry McDowell)

Lead writer for CatchMark SportsNet and Web Services leader for CatchMark Technologies.

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