Our Mission

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.


When eight-time major champion Tom Watson looked back on his storied career in golf, he realized it all began with an invitation to join his father Ray on the golf course. He benefited from both easy access and a guide as he grew up and developed his game alongside his father and his mentor Stan Thirsk. Tom recognized this privilege was not shared by everyone interested in golf and made it his mission to help change that.

Building a Bridge

In 2020, Tom’s efforts began in earnest because he felt that more could be done to create lifelong players. In response, Tom met with young golf enthusiasts and teaching professionals to explore how to build a bridge from early lessons on the driving range to an enduring passion for the game. In those discussions, it became clear that mentorship focused on social play was the key – and Watson Links was born.


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.



Thomas S. Watson

Founder + Chairman

Pauly Hart

Executive Director

Board of Directors

Maureen Farrell

PGA Director of Instruction, Oakwood Country Club

Frank Kirk


Mike Thiessen

Attorney, Lewis Rice LLC

Gary Gilson

Board Vice President, Watson Links

Skip Maiwald

Director of Instruction, Ironhorse Golf Club

Watson Links provides free access to golf and mentoring opportunities for all children regardless of their socioeconomic status, race, background or other characteristics that may create barriers to the game. We welcome mentors from varied backgrounds and cultures in our efforts to develop the next generation of golfers.

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