SCJGA Guide to Junior Golf
This guide is an informational piece designed to help parents and juniors traverse this wonderful maze of South Carolina junior golf. We have a great state that is very supportive of our efforts to grow the game and keep more people involved in playing golf.
A common goal shared by both the SCJGA and our participating families is one of enjoying golf in a competitive setting while building life long relationships in a wonderful pastime. Golf teaches values that are used in every day life, no matter the ability of the player, in a most positive aspect.
Life beyond junior golf:
Too often we see the game as a means to the end. Junior golf leads to a college scholarship! While we are extremely proud of our alumni that have gone on to successful college careers and professional tours, we also realize the true odds of this golden path are open to only a select few. More important is the fact the family gets to spend some great time together in a sport based on true integrity. Golf is a sport that someone can play for his or her entire life, will help them in the business world, develop relationships with friends, and give them a healthy form of recreation.
College golf is a great avenue to expand horizons and add an additional dimension to the learning experience. We will assist any player in fulfilling their goals of taking their game to the next level. Parents and players alike need to be realistic in their goals of playing on the college level. Parents tend to believe their “star” is ready to take on the top tour professionals, when they really can’t dominate their local events. Our job is to advise those ready to take that next competitive step, no matter their true gifts on the course. Please realize we want every child to play on the college level, but we are going to recommend a path that is more based on a quality education that will suit the player’s needs. The Ping American College Golf Guide is a vital tool for any college bound golfer.
The junior golfer should be held accountable for keeping his playing resume up to date, tracking event applications, maintaining an accurate SCGA handicap (free service of the SCGA and CGA), and all other aspects of being a responsible player. They are to take care of the host facilities, dress in attire keeping with the traditions of the game, conduct themselves as consummate guests at all times, and show respect to members, fellow competitors, and all staff volunteers.
THE JUNIOR CODE FOR LIVING
Life Principles Learned Through Sports
Because the things I say and do affect other people, I will try to live by the following code. When I make mistakes, I will say that I am sorry and try to do better
As an individual:
I will try my hardest in practice and in play.
I will play by the rules.
I will be kind to everyone, and will not call others names.
As a member of a team:
I will put the team ahead of myself.
I will try to help everyone on the team be better
I will follow the team rules made by the coach.
As a member of society:
I will always try to set a good example for everyone who sees me.
I will do my part to help others in my community and world.
Parents are there to support their youngsters from afar with realistic goals. Parents are invited to participate and even help by walking ahead of the group on cart paths if available to assist in location of miss-hit golf balls. The Rules of Golf are very specific about advice – you can’t give the player any help by telling them anything that could dictate how they would play a shot. This is extremely difficult for parents as we all want to see success; we just have to wait until the round is over. Players can actually be penalized for overzealous parents! The players do learn from their mistakes more so from over competitive parents. History has taught us that the juniors need support in good play and most importantly, from play that is not very good. Nothing worse than to see a parent get upset over a three putt or missed shot – what kind of message is being sent back to the player? Let the player learn responsibility by facing his or her own consequences.
These are entry-level programs designed for the beginning golfer and juniors under the age of twelve. Operated in a team or group setting, the youngsters are taught the basics of the game in a manner that is fun and fosters team spirit.
The SCJGA Chapter program is designed for the local player not quite ready for state competition. Area chapters serve the local markets by providing a summer series that leads up to an All Stars Tournament. This is the grass roots of the SCJGA; low cost local competitions that drive the desire to succeed. Nineteen chapters currently serve close to 1500 juniors each year.
Tournament golf is a great way to build on competitive abilities as well as generate social skills for today’s juniors. Unlike some other sports that are more adversarial by nature, golf tends to build upon the basic values of honesty, self-reliance, and integrity. South Carolina has more tournaments available than any family can bear to play! What a great state for variety! Most events are based on two rounds of individual stroke play in different age groups for both boys and girls. These brackets vary from event to event and yardage differences are generally gender and age specific.
The following is an overview of junior golf offerings so that parents and players can make more informed decisions about tournament play. The United State Golf Association governs the game through state and regional golf association. The South Carolina Golf Association, South Carolina Junior Golf Association, and The Carolina’s Golf Association along with the SC Women’s GA are the state entities charged with governing the game in North and South Carolina. Their events are looked upon as “majors” by all coaches, players, and other organizing bodies. These titles represent their respective state championships. The USGA Junior Championship, CGA Junior Championship, CGA SC Match Play, WSCGA Junior Girls, and the SCGA Junior Championship are all on the must play list of the top players. These associations have a goal to grow the game and do so by providing great events at a very reasonable cost to the family.
Most events require applications to be filled and mailed to the respective operator. Some associations are now doing the application by on line registration. The Carolina’s Golf Association publishes the comprehensive Junior Schedule of the Carolinas each year. This schedule has dates, eligibility, host course, and a contact phone number of the organizing body. This is where the junior should have the responsibility of locating the applications for any events that they want to participate and make sure they are mailed by the deadline dates. Each event runs under different parameters and can be a monumental task for the competitive players.
These organizations provide a great service to our juniors by providing year round competition on quality golf courses. National Junior Golf Club, Hurricane Junior Golf Tour, International Junior Golf Tour, Eastern Junior Golf Association, and the SouthEastern Junior Golf Association are just some of the organizations that offer events. The associations can be more expensive across the board because of membership fees and higher tournament costs that are passed along to the consumer. A very popular option because of the more open field selection process.
These are events operated by golf courses, community boards, and the like providing access to good competition at courses around the state. Entrance determinations are different for each event; therefore players have options of which events to play. The Beth Daniel Junior Azalea, Rice Planters, Upstate, Florence, Big I, Optimist, George Holiday, Charles Tilghman are just a few of these types of events. There are many of these events, especially in the summer months. These tournaments are generally low in cost, are professionally run, have a tremendous impact on junior golf, and are a great opportunity for SC players to play the game.
The American Junior Golf Association is the pre-eminent junior tour in the country. The have events all over the country and are geared specifically for the college bound golfer. Fees can run higher than some other options with membership fees around $200 and event fees ranging around $200-$300. They do offer financial assistance, as do most other associations to assist with these costs. If a junior wishes to play college golf outside of the South east, the AJGA provides some great exposure to coaches across the country. Competition tends to be very strong in their events and the best players strive to compete against the nations better players. Some of our very strong players have not played in any of these events, their record and in state and local events easily qualifying them for the college level.
Junior players are ranked in South Carolina by the Heritage Classic Foundation Rankings. Boy and Girls earn points based in their performance in junior golf tournaments throughout the year. The rankings reflect the past twelve-month cycle for any given junior. Only older competitors playing from the farthest back set of tees are eligible for points. Points are awarded for the top twenty finishes in quality events, then multiplied by a weight factor. The strength of field, number of rounds, and scores shot by the contestants determine the weight factor. Over 100 events are used each year to determine these rankings, making the system wide in scope for all levels of play.
There are many qualified teachers in South Carolina ready to assist developing players. Lesser skilled players and younger golfers will truly benefit from a clinic setting. Costs are lower and the group setting makes for a very comfortable learning environment. The older and more skilled players will benefit from individual attention, as instruction is more detailed. The main key in the whole process is to find a qualified teacher that has the same goals and has a great reputation with the junior player. Plan on the process being long term versus a quick fix. Some players have great success with no instruction while others need a weekly process to achieve their goals; each player is different in this regard. There is no substitute for starting a player with the proper fundamentals.
The game can be expensive when it comes to equipment. The SCJGA has clubs available for the beginners and young players available for loan as they get started in the game. Like everything else in an adolescent’s life, only the newest and most expensive is the correct path. Today’s equipment is so good that a set of quality clubs a couple of years old is very competitive. A player will have much more success with a $300 set of clubs that has been properly fitted than a new set that is not suited for their size or swing speed. Spend the extra time to get the clubs right for the player. Invest in learning how to use clubs with instruction instead of buying the hottest new driver is always money well spent!
The SCJGA has a common goal of growing the game through our youngsters. We will assist any family in making sure they take full advantage of the opportunities available in South Carolina. Feel free to call us in regards to any questions about the game of a lifetime-golf.