OCEAN CITY- Ocean City’s own Fred Engh, founder and president of the National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS) and long-time youth sports advocate, was featured this week on the “Golf Central” program on the Golf Channel.
The “Golf Central” piece traced Engh’s remarkable journey from his youth in Ocean City to his being the only white golfer on his team at the historically black Maryland State College, now UMES, in the 1960s, to the foundation and oversight of NAYS and its international division, which has been advocating the power of youth sports since 1981.
The Golf Channel piece, which aired on Monday, also spotlighted the “Hook a Kid on Golf” program, which Engh created in 1990. The program is recognized as one of the nation’s most comprehensive junior golf development programs. Since its inception, the program has introduced golf to more than 75,000 young players around the world who might otherwise would never have the opportunity to swing a club or participate in the program’s fun and innovative formats.
Golf has been a passion for Engh since he first began playing as a youth in Ocean City and later helped Maryland State College to win the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) conference title in 1961 along with a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) district title.
“Golf Central” staffers conducted extensive interviews with Engh this summer in Ocean City prior to the annual Sammy Wilkinson Memorial Golf Tournament, named for Engh’s late grandson. The Wilkinson and Engh families started the Sammy Wilkinson Foundation and its Global Gear program under the umbrella of Fred Engh’s successful NAYS program.
The show also explores how those early experiences helped shape Engh’s tireless efforts these days to help ensure that children have positive and rewarding experiences in all sports. Engh created the International Alliance for Youth Sports (IAYS), a division of NAYS, nearly a decade ago to help impact the lives of children in poverty-stricken regions of the world. Today the organization partners with The Peace Corps worldwide. He was named one of the 100 Most Influential Sports Educators in America by the Institute for International Sport in 2007.