The Florida High School Athletic Association was established in 1920 with the purpose of promoting, directing, supervising and regulating interscholastic athletic programs in which high school students, whose schools are members, compete. Jayda Dookie qualified for the 2019 Florida High School Golf State Championship Qualifier held on October 16, 2019 at the Mission Inn and Resort Club at Howey-in-the Hills.
When I asked her about her performance, she said it wasn't her best. She finished in 60th place out of 95 female golfers. It was an experience she will definitely remember and hopes to qualify again in the future.
When is the best time for your junior golfer to start playing tournaments? When they are ready. I assess readiness differently for each of my students because they are unique. It is not about age it is truly about confidence in their game and their ability to make decisions on the course.
I have been teaching Mateo since he was 5 years old, after a year I encouraged his mother to register him for local tournaments and then this past summer he joined the PGA Jr. League. He was the youngest player on the team but he played his heart out and his teammates loved having him around.
When I learned that the South Florida PGA Junior Golf tournament series had added the Junior Links Tour, I was excited to discuss this option with his mother. The Links Tour makes individual Jr. PGA Tournament play accessible to golfers ages 6-8. The series of 9-hole events expanded into Palm Beach County this weekend with its first tournament at Johnathan's Landing-Old Trail this past Sunday.
Mateo persevered through some extremely windy conditions on the front nine of the Hills Course (1,895 yards). He overcame some struggles on the first four holes to close with a 45 and a first place finish. I could not be more proud. He has won other tournaments before but this one was special because it was his first PGA Tournament.
As June comes to an end and July starts, I am honored to have the privilege to coach junior golfers. While many recreational players in Florida are avoiding the hot and humid conditions of the golf course in the summer, a number of my junior students are in involved in leagues and playing in tournaments. They are even scheduling their vacations around their golf commitments.
Whether it be the JGFA, U.S. Kids or PGA offerings like the Prep Tour and Junior League, my students have chosen to test their skills on the course and play with other young golfers this summer. I am inspired by their dedication and I am awed by their willingness to learn from every experience that is placed in front of them.
Sadly, I cannot be present at so many events to see them in action but I am thankful for the parents who send me pictures and videos. Knowing that they are out playing, having fun and doing their best makes me happy.