“I know that if you start a child at 5yrs of age, by the age of 10 they will be proficient at golf.”
- Dr. Justine Redding
Dr. Justine Redding was introduced to the game of golf as a child by her parents growing up in Jacksonville, Fla. at Brentwood Golf Club. After receiving a Doctorate in Exercise Physiology, Dr. Redding focused on a career in education, while also meeting and marrying Mr. Richard Blackston. The couple retired and moved back to Jacksonville to settle into the next phase of their lives. As a Christmas gift, Dr. Redding purchased Richard golf lessons to learn the game, and while Richard was completing a lesson Dr. Redding noticed the lack of youth out on the course. “I was told that kids weren’t interested in golf, and even kids who had participated in the First Tee didn’t stick with the game,” Dr. Redding stated. Always the educator, Dr. Redding knew that kids want to learn, and believed that exposure combined with teaching was a powerful combination to set youth on a path forward in life.
After meeting with the local First Tee chapter in Jacksonville, a plan became action. In 2014 the couple personally selected seven children to attend the First Tee for an introduction to the game, while also being mentored by Dr. Redding and Richard. The mission: To serve underserved youth in Jacksonville by building character through mentoring and the game of golf. The Moore-Myers Children’s Fund was established by asking friends attending their 25th Wedding Anniversary celebration to gift $25 and $1 every year thereafter to create the initial funding and source of annual giving.
“Golf is not valued in underserved communities because those communities have not had the opportunities to come to the game,” Dr. Redding said. She and Richard are providing those opportunities by supporting each of their ‘Eagles’ in the program. The Moore-Myers Children’s Fund is helping the ‘Eagles’ learn etiquette, life skills, the importance of education, and college preparation while learning and excelling at the game of golf.
In eight years, the Moore-Myers Children’s Fund has grown to 132 ‘Eagles’ with a waiting list for youth to join. ‘Eagles’ have gone on to play collegiate golf and attend college, with some majoring in the business of golf through the PGA of America’s Professional Golf Management Program. The Fund currently pays for ‘Eagles’ on local high school golf teams to play practice rounds at courses prior to competition. In 2022 a new program was established, Ladies on the Links (LOL), for mothers of current Eagles to bring another lady to learn the game of golf. The program currently has 23 women who are committed to taking lessons once a week, and one practice session before each lesson. Funds from the Grassroots Grants Program – supported by the golf industry’s Make Golf Your Thing initiative – were used for equipment for Ladies on the Links participants and lesson time with PGA Professionals.
The future of the Moore-Myers Children’s Fund is to continue impacting the lives of children and women through the game of golf. To contribute to the Moore-Myers Children’s Fund, please visit this website.
The Moore-Myers title is a tribute to the late Anne Mildred Moore (mother of Dr. Redding), a teacher and avid golfer and Jessie May Myers (mother to Richard Blackston), an entrepreneur and mentor to many.