Young American Indian professional golfer Alexandrea Schulte is now the face of the Ak-Chin Indian Community when it comes to promoting the sport and the tribe-owned Southern Dunes Golf Course in Maricopa, Arizona.
“We are very proud to be a sponsor for a young professional golfer such as Ms. Schulte. She represents the core values of our youth in the Native American community,” said Louise J. Manuel, Jr., Tribal Chairman.
The one-year exclusive tribal sponsorship agreement was signed in May and will extend to May 2013, said Roger White, president of Native American Marketing Enterprises, marketing consultant of Schulte.
The sponsorship agreement entails Schulte representing the Ak-Chin Tribe at the National Indian Gaming Association’s Indian Gaming Tradeshow and Convention in Phoenix, Arizona in March next year, said a press statement from the Ak-Chin Indian Community.
According to the statement, she will also be assisting the Community with various Tribal Youth Educational and Sports Programs and the grand opening of the Ak-Chin Family Entertainment Center in Maricopa, in November.
“I thank the Ak-Chin Indian Community and Southern Dunes Golf Course for the opportunity to work with Tribal Youth Programs,” said Schulte, Northern Ute, who graduated in December 2010 from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Arts, major in Communications.
While in college, where she had a full golf scholarship she was a 4- year starter, including 4 SEC championships, 4 NCAA Regional and 1 NCAA Championship appearances.
At the age of 14, (she is now in her early 20s), the American Junior Golf Association named Schulte one of the Top 50 teenage players in the country.
Recently, in May, according to news reports, she tied for 17th place on the Ladies Suncoast Professional golf tour at the LPGA International golf course in Daytona Beach, Florida. She finished in the Top 20 in three tournaments this year.
“My goal is to provide a safe environment and positive attitude for Native American youth through academics and sports,” said Schulte.
White said she expects Schulte to honor her commitments with the Ak-Chin Community by attending different school functions, giving motivational talks to the youth and participating in golf clinics, among others.
“It is very exciting for me to be able to influence a new generation of Native American youth that recognizes the struggles ahead but have the knowledge to overcome them and realize their responsibility of continuing the traditions as they have been passed on to them,” Schulte said.
“It is very difficult for girls to play into major tours. The cost is prohibitive and they don’t have the funds to do it,” said White, one reason why he has been assisting Schulte in looking for financial support in exchange for her commitment to promote the sponsor and their events.
The current sponsorship agreement with the tribe and Southern Dunes Golf Course will provide for half of the $45,000 Schulte needs to pay for entry fees, travel expenses, membership fees and other expenses, said White.
He said Schulte also has gotten corporate sponsorships from Database Dynamics, BIOFlex Magnetic Systems and First National Bullion.
It is going to be a busy year for the young Native American with a schedule consisting of 27 tournaments in 12 states. One tournament is the Florida Women’s Open, March 12-14.
Also on her list are 4 LPGA events/qualifiers, 10 LGPA Futures Tour events, 5 Cactus Tour events, 7 Suncoast Series events and the US Women’s Open in Wisconsin.
In an interview with Indian Country Today Media Network in January, Schulte said she hopes one day to be a pro and compete in the LPGA against the world’s top golfers. She also talked about her desire to inspire and help the Native youth be a healthy, well-rounded individual.
“The Ak-Chin Community is youth oriented. Their approach towards North American youth is the same as Alex. They have the same beliefs as Alex,” said White on the groundwork laid between parties before the signing of the agreement.
“The biggest thing she can do is she can represent the tribe with dignity and respect at all times and work with the tribal youth. That is her goal and that excites her,” he said.
The Ak-Chin has an enrollment of 770 tribal members. Its holdings include Ak-Chin Farms, said to be one of the largest farming communities in the country, Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino & Resort and Southern Dunes Golf Course, among others.
The tribe acquired the Southern Dunes Golf Course, an 18-hole golf course that sits on 320 acres of land and formerly a private, all men’s club, in 2010. Schmidt-Curley Design, Inc., with the help of Fred Couples, designed the course. Golf Week named it as one of the best courses to play in the United States in 2009.