Matthew Lin of Orinda, California, and Madeline Bante of Englewood, Colorado, were named the 2022 recipients of the USGA-AJGA Presidents’ Leadership Award, the USGA and American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) announced.
The USGA-AJGA Presidents’ Leadership Award honors one male and one female junior golfer annually who demonstrate leadership, character and community service through their involvement with the Leadership Links program: a joint initiative founded by the USGA and AJGA in 2005 to further develop junior golfers through volunteerism.
Golf is about much more than winning tournaments – it’s about succeeding in life, living the values you learn on the course and being an active member of the community. Matthew and Madeline are two exceptional leaders who are an inspiration to us at the USGA, to their generation and everyone in the game. We can’t wait to see their careers unfold.USGA PRESIDENT STU FRANCIS
About Matthew Lin
One of Lin’s favorite words is gratitude. He believes that living with gratitude is what defines a person, not the circumstances in someone’s life. Raised by two parents who have overcome great adversity – a father who relied on his school’s free lunch program as an immigrant and a mother who shared a room with a severely schizophrenic sister – the family has proven that circumstances don’t define you. In fact, it was Lin’s parents who passed down an overwhelming sense of gratitude to be living in America. Grateful for every opportunity he’s had in his life, Lin chose to give back to others.
Lin supported All Stars Helping Kids by using social media to increase awareness for underprivileged children in San Francisco, all while raising more than $30,000 ($20,000 of which came through his Leadership Links campaign) for the organization. He then worked to connect All Stars Helping Kids with other Northern California junior golf programs to help create new annual scholarships. Lin also dedicated his time to CityTeam over the past four years, which included regularly serving and delivering to the city’s homeless.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Lin has worked with his community to raise awareness for the local women’s shelter and to collect clothing and furniture.
The one thing [my parents] both passed down to me is an overwhelming sense of feeling lucky to live in America. From this thankfulness stems an instinctive desire to help others. We all struggle in different ways, and I’ve felt and seen how a little bit of kindness goes a long way.MATTHEW LIN
Seeing firsthand what life was like for the less fortunate, Lin started the RISE Club at school, which increases awareness for people who are oppressed and don’t have a voice. The 2024 graduate wanted to take a positive and educational approach to this club. He was able to hold interviews, find informative videos to share and try different foods from different cultures. Lin believed that through education and empathy, more awareness could be brought to a global issue that is still prominent in today’s world.
About Madeline Bante
Golf has given so much to Bante, which is why she strives to use the game to give back in every way she can. This includes volunteering with the First Tee – Colorado Rocky Mountains. Not only does Bante teach kids how to play the game of golf each week, she also instills the principles of the First Tee, including honesty, integrity, hard work and grit. These are principles in which she lives her own life. The opportunity to work with these children is something that’s not lost on Bante, but it also left her wanting to do more. She had already made a difference through community service, so she set her sights on fundraising.
In 2021 alone, Bante raised more than $14K for the First Tee – Colorado Rocky Mountains and the ACE Grant. That money will help provide scholarships for teenagers to go to college, free tuition for children to attend First Tee programs, and allow young adults the opportunity to play in AJGA tournaments.
As a balanced student, golfer, and friend, I am able to make time for those that matter to me. Volunteerism is extremely important for the future of golf because the game is not possible without it.MADELINE BANTE
Though a majority of Bante’s community service and fundraising efforts have been focused on golf, she’s found a way to help others outside of golf as well. Bante became a member of the National Charity League, where she helped on a Joy International project and volunteered countless hours at The Food Bank of The Rockies.
The future of golf is in great hands with the likes of Matthew Lin and Madeline Bante. Through their service to help others in their community, dedication to strong moral character, and leadership among their peers they are making a big impact in the lives of those around them as they exemplify the essence of the USGA-AJGA Presidents’ Leadership Award.AJGA DIRECTOR OF YOUTH DEVELOPMENT BETH DOCKTER
USGA-AJGA Presidents’ Leadership Award – Past Recipients
Tommy Frist (Nashville, Tn)
Andie Smith (Hobe Sound, Fl)
Charlie Creamean (Winnetka, Il)
Ashley Yen (Houston, Tx)
William Mirams (Stroudsburg, Pa)
Lauryn Nguyen (Seattle,Wa.)
Gerry Jones Jr. (Suffolk, Va.)
Grace Chen (Sunnyvale, Calif.)
Grant Fairbairn (Orinda, Fla.)
Haley Bookholdt (Columbus, N.J.)
Daniel Berlin (Chagrin Falls, Ohio)
Angelica Harris (Harvey, La.)
Nick Leibold (Littleton, Colo.)
Hannah Berman (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.)
John Hayden (Birmingham, Ala.)
Dree Fausnaugh (Maitland, Fla.)
Patrick Cover (Huntersville, N.C.)
Divya Manthena (Camarillo, Calif.)
Brandon Pierce (Covington, La.)
Cassie Wang (Lenexa, Kan.)
John Farese (Sayville, N.Y.)
Natalie Turk (Franklin, Tenn.)
Drew Johnson (Oak Ridge, N.C.)
Jacqueline Calamaro (Newtown Square, Pa.)
Zach Herr (New Hope, Pa.)
Emily Gimpel (Lafayette Hill, Pa.)
Smylie Kaufman (Birmingham, Ala.)
Kelsey Conway (Ventura, Calif.)
About Leadership Links
Since 2009, the Leadership Links program has helped more than 2,500 junior golfers make a difference in their communities by generating more than $2.2 million in charitable contributions to more than 2,000 charities and the AJGA’s Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant.
Leadership Links is a program that allows the AJGA to further its mission to help develop young men and women by teaching charitable-giving skills and service-oriented practices at an early age. This program gives juniors all the tools necessary to donate their time, talent and resources to local charities and the ACE Grant. Visit https://www.ajga.org/programs/leadership-links for more.
About the USGA
The USGA celebrates, serves and advances the game of golf. Founded in 1894, we conduct many of golf’s premier professional and amateur championships, including the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open Presented by ProMedica. With The R&A, we govern the sport via a global set of playing, equipment and amateur status rules. Our operating jurisdiction for these governance functions is the United States, its territories and Mexico. The USGA Handicap System is utilized in more than 40 countries and our Course Rating System covers 95 percent of the world’s golf courses, enabling all golfers to play on an equitable basis. The USGA campus in Liberty Corner, New Jersey, is home to the Association’s Research and Test Center, where science and innovation are fueling a healthy and sustainable game for the future. The campus is also home to the USGA Golf Museum, where we honor the game by curating the world’s most comprehensive archive of golf artifacts. To learn more, visit usga.org.
About the AJGA
Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2018, the American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The AJGA provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls, ages 12-19) of more than 6,900 members from 50 states and 60 foreign countries. Through initiatives like the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant, a financial assistance program, and Leadership Links, a service-oriented platform that teaches juniors charitable-giving skills, the AJGA fosters the growth of golf’s next generation.
TaylorMade-adidas Golf became the AJGA’s National Sponsor in 2016 after more than 25 years of support. Rolex, which is in its fourth decade of AJGA sponsorship, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2017, adidas joined the AJGA as a Premier Partner, serving as the Official Apparel and Footwear of the AJGA.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 900 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tiger Woods, Paula Creamer, Ariya Jutanugarn, Cristie Kerr, Stacy Lewis, Brittany Lincicome, Anna Nordqvist, Inbee Park and Lexi Thompson.