Watson Links

Watson Links provides opportunities for kids to play golf alongside a mentor, inspiring lifelong players who benefit from the positive experiences associated with the game. The initiative provides a bridge from golf lessons on the driving range to playing on a real golf course for aspiring players ages 10 to 18. The model is simple: pair adult golf mentors with youth players for fun, relaxed rounds of golf to hone basic skills, introduce course etiquette and reinforce valuable life skills – all for free!

The Pilot Program

Watson Links’s pilot season in 2021 proved popular in Kansas City, and the program gained even more momentum in 2022 through a collaboration with First Tee – Greater Kansas City.

In 2023, Tom issued a nationwide challenge to join him in developing mentors, engaging courses, and getting the word out to kids. Sacramento, California, became the first licensee to join the Watson Links network; several other cities followed closely thereafter.

This rapid growth has been a significant step toward realizing Tom’s vision of creating lifelong golfers through mentorship and enjoyable play.

Bruce Edwards Foundation

In April 2004, Bruce Edwards, longtime friend and caddy of PGA golfer Tom Watson, died from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. In the last months of his life, Bruce continued to work on the Tour and became the subject of the best-selling book Caddy for Life, which detailed his career and his struggle with ALS. The author of Caddy for Life, John Feinstein, and Hall of Fame golfer Tom Watson joined forces in 2005 to create The Bruce Edwards Foundation for ALS Research, which provides funds to medical research facilities dedicated to slowing the progression of and finding a cure for ALS. This Foundation fulfills a promise made to Bruce by Tom to continue to fight to find a cure for this fatal disease.

Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins

A Winning Combination:  Tom Watson has been part of the Packard Center’s inner circle since 2005 – when the Bruce Edwards Foundation and Bruce Edwards Celebrity Classic were established to raise much-needed funds for ALS research.  Like the Center’s medical director, Jeffrey D. Rothstein, MD, PhD, Tom advocates for aggressive and milestone-driven research and expects results and accountability.  Together, these two are helping lead the fight to find a cure for ALS.

Children’s Mercy Hospital

For 25 unparalleled years, Tom Watson hosted a nationally-renowned annual golf exhibition to benefit the pediatric hospital in his hometown. The Children’s Mercy Golf Classic brought all of golf’s greatest — Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson and dozens more — to Kansas City to help Tom raise more than $12 million for Children’s Mercy Hospital.  Every corner of the hospital — from newborn intensive care to the operating rooms to the cancer unit to the therapy pool — have benefitted from Tom’s generosity and the success of his Golf Classic.

The First Tee of Greater Kansas City

Tom Watson has served as our Advisory Board Chairman at The First Tee of Greater Kansas City since its inception.  He has spent countless hours promoting our program through clinics, fund raising events and promotional efforts.  Tom believes, as we do, that it is every adult’s responsibility to ensure that today’s young people have the appropriate Life Skills to become tomorrow’s productive, contributing citizens.  Character has been Tom’s calling card over the years and The First Tee is a youth development program focused on character education where young people learn our Nine Core Values™ of honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy, and judgment.

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