If your junior golfer has been taking lessons for awhile and they are developing a passion for the sport you may be wondering what's next for them? My answer is simply let them play! This can mean taking them to the golf course and letting them play a few holes with you until they can work up the stamina to walk 9 holes with their bag. Yes, walk. Competitive junior golfers walk the golf course. If they are ready for competition, you may want to consider the Drive, Chip and Putt competition or tournament play.
Drive, Chip and Putt
As the Masters Tournament approaches, you will hear more about the Drive, Chip and Putt competition for junior golfers. This competition is free of charge and culminates with finalists from around the country competing at the following year's Masters Tournament in Augusta, GA. It is a skills challenge!! Registration begins tomorrow, March 1, 2021.
If your golfer is ready to play the course with other golfers in their age group, then they may be ready to play in tournaments. Please read my earlier post to determine their readiness before considering the tournament options that follow.
South Florida PGA-Junior Section Tournaments
The South Florida PGA Section offers tournament opportunities that will challenge your golfer as their skills improve on the golf course. I highly recommend the Links Tour for for first time tournament players since it is only 9 holes and caddies are allowed for younger golfers.
Under Armour Presents The Junior Tour
This tournament option is for golfers of all ages. When you register you are committing to play in all tournaments as scheduled. The registration fee is paid upfront.
If you have specific questions about your junior's abilities, please feel free to contact me.
I have been coaching Sara since 2017 and she is an absolute delight. She encountered many ups and downs as she battled flaws in her swing which left her unhappy with her performance at times. Her competitive nature also caused her to try too hard to make things work which was very frustrating for her.
We spent time talking through her challenges and she started to become a better student of the game. I filmed her, she studied what she was doing wrong and she practiced for hours at a time until she could make the corrections. She is a determined young golfer.
Sara started playing in U.S. Kids tournaments last year and her performance earned her an invite to Regionals. She was presented a beautiful trophy for her 3rd place finish and she wanted to share it with me. It is truly an honor to coach her. She is only 8 years old and her future is bright. I have no doubt she will attain her goal of first place soon.
The golf courses have been open for almost a month, the first live golf event was televised last weekend and the PGA South Florida Section Junior Golf recently announced that it will be resuming its tournament schedule next month. The golf world is doing what it can to help people start living life again. It's exciting to see.
Two of my youngest students were back on the course this week as they are eager to compete in the Links Tour which kicks off on June 15, 2020 at the Country Club of Coral Springs. Sarah is playing really well and has even come close to beating her Dad. They are looking forward to playing in tournaments on both the east and west coast this summer. It's all about getting her experience and building her confidence.
Mateo just received the Player of the Year Award for 2019 which was the final season for the Junior Golf Foundation America, Inc. He is looking forward to competing again and meeting other golfers. He made a new friend in a younger, talented golfer at the last tournament in March but has not been able to see him since. Mateo walked away with the win that day but admits that his new friend really pushed him.
Both of these junior golfers have aspirations of competing on the Prep tour when they are nine. For now, the Links Tour provides them with an opportunity to gain experience and get prepared for playing without a caddie. Most importantly, they are getting a chance to live out the core values on the golf course. I am looking forward to seeing their growth this year.
The PGA South Florida Junior Section is set to kick off its tournament season this weekend. It is an exciting time for junior golfers because they get an opportunity to see how their skills have improved and apply them while playing different courses across the region.
I teach a number of group classes and that allows my students to create friendships with golfers of different levels. At some point, a junior starts talking about their tournament experience to another junior and that may spark some new interest in a golfer who has not played in a tournament before. While it is easy to think that tournament play is a natural progression for your golfer, it is important to remember that playing golf on course with the family is very different from playing in a tournament against other golfers in their respective age group.
Assuming that your junior golfer can play the course applying the rules and keeps pace of play, maturity is key. While they may be playing against another junior golfer, the reality is they are competing against the course. Basically, the golfer is given so many shots to get the ball in the hole (this is par). The golfer's goal is make par or better. If you do great, if you don't then learn from your mistakes and move on to the next hole. It takes time to develop this kind of maturity on the golf course. Some junior golfers develop it early and others take longer to get to that level.
Additionally, sportsmanship is important. I teach my students to only complement their opponents and never wish them bad. There will be times when their opponent is doing well while they appear to be falling apart. Their response to a bad shot is just as important if not more important than their response to a good shot. Character will be defined or refined in these moments.
Once this level has been attained, it is important to remember to have fun and pick your caddie wisely. While this is often a parent, sometimes this relationship can be toxic on the golf course. I have seen many a junior golfer fall apart in a tournament because they are trying to please a parent rather than focus on golf. My advice to parents is to let your junior golfer make their own decisions. They will not learn or improve if you are guiding their every move. Encourage your junior golfer and avoid pressuring them to attain goals that you have or have had for yourself.
These are just a few things to consider before registering your junior for their first tournament. If you have specific questions, please feel free to contact me at 708-584-0887.
Click the links below to learn about tournament options. Pay special attention to age ranges and requirements.