Juniors talking on green
As an adult from the Baby Boomer generation, I often think about how lucky I am to have found golf and how today’s generation has so many more options to enter the game. Back 30 to 40 years ago, golf for the younger set was typically exclusive for private facilities and consisted of short lessons by the golf professional and then the chance to play golf on a once-a-week basis.
For those who weren’t members of a club or course, caddying proved to be the most logical avenue to learn the game. “Looping bags” Tuesdays through Sundays for the chance to play golf on Mondays was by far the most organized youth programming available.
Today there are so many opportunities for juniors to learn the game in fun, organized and affordable settings. Golf courses, private facilities, stand-alone driving ranges and even retail operations now offer a variety of programming which includes instructional elements, playing opportunities and competitive events in team and individual formats.
PGA Junior League Golf: Organized Team golf with players 13 and under playing matches in a 2-person scramble setting. Much like other team sports, PGA Junior League Golf gives kids social interaction while playing the game in a fun group setting.
PGA Sports Academy: This youth program combines traditional golf instruction with fun activities and positive health and nutrition instruction. Levels of events are based on skill and progression instead of just age.
Drive, Chip andPutt: This nationwide individual skills challenge for juniors holds local qualifiers throughout the country with competitors trying to advance through the ranks for the ultimate prize of competing in the National Finals at Augusta National Golf Club prior to The Masters. Sponsored by Augusta National Golf Club, the PGA of America and the USGA, there is no cost to register or compete making this the most affordable competition available.
And while the methods and means of coming into the game have changed over the generations, the enjoyment and longevity that golf affords all of us hasn’t. So take advantage of the offerings. We look forward to seeing you on the course. And, oh by the way, this author still relishes his caddying days and those Monday competition rounds with his fellow “looping” brethren.
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