FARMINGTON HILLS – Edward Shen has pushed the envelope with his Youth on Course and Golf Association of Michigan memberships.
“I’ve talked some non-golfer friends into signing up for Youth on Course and playing a round with me, and I know some of them are going to keep playing golf,” he said. “We had fun.”
Shen, 18 and a senior at Ann Arbor Pioneer High School, is one of 19 high school graduates from across the country who are receiving a Youth on Course scholarship for 2020. Over $252,000 in scholarships were announced recently for the group of graduates.
Shen has been a Youth on Course member since his freshman year via his high school golf team’s membership with the Golf Association of Michigan (GAM). The GAM Foundation provides funding in Michigan for Youth on Course, which is a national non-profit providing young golfers with subsidized golf, scholarships, caddie programs and internships.
In Michigan, like across the country, golfers under age 18 can play a round of golf for $5 or less at participating golf courses. In 2019, there were almost 4,300 YOC members in Michigan who played 8,359 rounds and hit over 2,000 buckets of balls on practice ranges at 108 participating facilities.
Shen did his part and is honored to have been rewarded beyond affordable golf.
“I was ecstatic when I found out and I’m truly grateful for this opportunity,” said Shen, who plans to study economics and business at the University of Michigan. “I knew there was a scholarship program and with going on to college I thought it was great idea to apply.”
Shen said the Youth on Course program has resulted in him playing a lot more golf, and he even used his membership on a summer golf trip to Northern Michigan.
“Treetops (Resort in Gaylord) is part of Youth on Course and we played there – it was gorgeous,” he said. “There’s also a lot of Youth on Course courses within a 10-minute drive of Ann Arbor. I’ve played a lot of golf because of Youth on Course.”
Shen expects to be a golfer the rest of his life. He tied for 11th last year in the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s state championships with a final-round 73 at The Fortress in Frankenmuth. He plans to tryout as a walk-on for the golf team at Michigan.
“I would like to make it into a U.S. Open at some point in my life,” he said.
The son of Gary and Winnie Shen started playing the game around age 5 with a plastic ball after attending a professional tournament in Shanghai, China, with his father.
“I think that sparked my dad into getting me into the game,” he said.
Since the inception of the Youth on Course scholarship program in 2008, 260 members across the country have been awarded with scholarships totaling close to $2 million in financial support. The current scholarship retention rate is ninety-three percent.
The 2020 recipients include seven first-generation college students and they will be attending the country’s most prestigious universities including University of Chicago, Columbia University, University of Michigan, UCLA, and Wake Forest University, among others. The average GPA of this year’s winners is 4.06.
Shen called Youth on Course a great program for growing the game of golf.
“It’s working,” he said. “It’s a great program and I’m thankful for help its giving me in going to college.”
For more information on Youth on Course and to join, please visit GAM.org/?YOC
-Greg Johnson [email protected]