Credit Union Sends Young Golfer to Pebble Beach
The $1.6 billion United Federal Credit Union announced it will help send a young golfer to play with the pros in a tournament at the famed Pebble Beach Golf Course in Monterey, Calif.
According to a release issued by UFCU, Ian Bellisario was among 80 junior golfers selected for the Nature Valley First Tee Open, an official Champions Tour event this weekend. The tournament will be televised on the Golf Channel.
The 17-year-old golfer is a participant in The First Tee of Fort Smith, an Arkansas organization that teaches young people life-long skills through the game of golf, said Noel Sanger, market VP for UFCU in Fort Smith, Ark.
Sanger, who is among five finalists for the 2014 CUES Next Top Credit Union Exec Challenge, is treasurer of The First Tee of Fort Smith and spearheads UFCU’s support for the organization.
“These kids learn to face challenges at home, school and play in a constructive manner, he said. “They learn that it takes patience to develop a skill, and that hard work pays off. United Federal Credit Union is happy to have such a positive impact on their lives.”
Headquartered in St. Joseph, Mich., UFCU has branches in six states, including two in Ft. Smith.
During the tournament, Bellisario and the other young golfers will be teamed with 81 Champion Tour players and 162 amateurs as they compete for the pro-junior title, the credit union said.
Bellisario was selected by a national panel of judges who evaluated playing ability, and comprehension of the life skills and character education learned through his involvement with The First Tee, the credit union said.
“I am recognized as a leader by my peers and adults both on and off the course,” Bellisario stated in the press release. “I have learned to maintain my composure on the course no matter how the round is going and help my teammates relax and stay on game.”
Champion Tour players committed to play include two-time Nature Valley First Tee Open winner and defending champion Kirk Triplett, Charles Schwab Cup contenders Jay Haas and Kenny Perry, and a number of World Golf Hall of Fame members.
“I will be playing alongside some of golf’s greatest players,” Bellisario added. “This will be a life changing experience for me.”
Kris Scott, executive director of The First Tee of Fort Smith, said participating in the tournament represents a culmination of countless hours of hard work and practice by Bellisario.
“Ian came to us at age 10 with very little knowledge about the game of golf,” Scott stated in the press release. “Now he is a volunteer coach and mentor to younger players and is on track to play golf in college. We are incredibly grateful to United Federal Credit Union and our other sponsors for supporting this program.”
The credit union also supports many other charitable groups within the communities it serves.