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NORTON, Massachusetts – With just two weeks remaining before the playing of the 118th U.S. Open, the USGA announced that it will once again host its U.S. Open Junior Day – a special fun and engaging junior golf initiative that is open to juniors aged 18 and younger ahead of the USGA’s most recognized championship of the year.
Registration for the free event – being held on Wednesday, June 13 – the day prior to the start of the U.S. Open – can be accessed at USGA.org and is another step taken by golf associations across the country to get the youngest of golfers involved in the game.
While details are still being ironed out for the 2018 U.S. Open Junior Day, past activities surrounding the event have included LPGA USGA Girl’s Golf instruction, Photo opportunities, Learning Science Through Golf demonstrations, trophy photos, simulator golf shots, and prizes for participants. A complete schedule will be available ahead of the event.
Locally, similar initiatives to increase participation at the junior level and immerse the youngest competitors within our great game will continue in 2018, as both Mass Golf and similar local organizations will be hosting a series of events for competitors of varying skill levels – with a similar mission to introduce youth to the game.
“We are thrilled to once again offer an array of opportunities for junior golfers to get involved,” stated Kevin Eldridge, the Mass Golf Director of Rules & Competition. “Massachusetts has historically been a leader in junior golf and continues to see excellent participation rates, and the entire staff is excited to continue offering opportunities for our youngest participants to remain involved, whether competitively or socially.”
Eldridge, of course, is referring to the organization’s Junior Amateur Championship, which will be celebrating its 110th anniversary this August, as well as the Young Golfers’ Amateur Championship and the Girls’ Junior Amateur Championship – the three championship-caliber events conducted by Mass Golf that brings together the state’s top competitors for a top-championship experience.
While the Championship and Tournament offer events that have been tremendously popular since their debuts, they aren’t the only ways that young golfers are getting involved in the game.
This month, The First Tee of Massachusetts, Mass Golf’s junior golf initiative with program locations in Norton, Brockton, Boston, Cape Cod and Springfield, unveiled its summer programming schedules for its Norton location, which allows boys and girls of all ages to both learn the skills needed for the game as well as the valuable life lessons that are taught through it. With programs specific to varying age groups, opportunities are plentiful.
Similar to the initiatives taken by the Mass Golf partnering organizations, other ways that junior golfers are getting involved with the game include through New England PGA Junior Tour competitions, the Girls Independent Golf League (GIGL), which was started right in Massachusetts and has spurred growth in girl’s junior golf across the country and the increase of clubs across the state having a PGA Jr. League team associate with them.
Across the NEPGA Jr. Tour scene, five events for boys and girls have already taken place early in the season, with nearly 120 events scheduled across the region until mid-October.
Similar to the aforementioned groups, GIGL too celebrated the beginning of their season at a special kick off ceremony on April 14 that drew over 200 girls to the Links at Mass Golf, the par-3 18-hole golf course owned and operated by Mass Golf. Having started right here in the area, the organization has grown tremendously since its start in 2015. With leagues, jamborees and clinics offered by GIGL, participation by junior girls across the state has seen significant growth.
Focus for many clubs has turned towards increasing youth participation at the membership level, and one of the ways that has been done is through the PGA Junior League – a national organization who “brings family and friends together around fun, team golf experiences with expert coaching from PGA and LPGA Professionals” according to its website. Since its start in 2011, it has added a national championship, regional championships and participation is to an all-time high of 42,000 competitors on 3,400 teams in 2017.
Gannon Municipal Golf Course in Lynn added a team to represent the club for this upcoming season, and can add up to four more players – who will play in a league against clubs including Beverly Golf & Tennis Club, Hillview, Wenham and Nahant – according to a story in the Item Live.
For more information on the programs offered to junior golfers by Mass Golf, visit MassGolf.org or visit us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by following us @PlayMassGolf.