Golf might be an individual sport, but the game's social aspects make it attractive to many, including the youngest of players. It's why, in part, the PGA Junior League Golf has succeeded so quickly. Participation in the PGA of America initiative, which is set to kick off its third year next month, jumped 345 percent in 2013 and is expected to double again in 2014 with an anticipated 1,400 teams in 250 leagues nationwide involving 18,000 boys and girls.
The program aims to mimic the appeal of Little League Baseball and youth soccer leagues by introducing golf to kids 13 and younger in a team setting, including handing out uniforms with jersey numbers. Squads consist of players of all ages and skills, with competitions consisting of nine-hole matches in a two-person scramble format to reinforce the team concept and limit pressure on any one individual player. Coaches can substitute players every three holes so a whole team participates.
Teams compete in regular-season matches with regional championships held in the summer and a national championship scheduled for October at TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth, Ga. For more information or to register, go to PGAJrLeagueGolf.com.
Photo: Montana Pritchard/PGA of America