Learn! Play! Compete!

STPGA Junior Golf program extols the virtues of working hard, having fun, and experiencing the thrill of being in contention

STPGA Junior Golf program extols the virtues of working hard, having fun, and experiencing the thrill of being in contention “Golf doesn’t build character, it reveals it,” is an adage that has been attributed most often to the immortal Bobby Jones, but even the inestimable Mr. Jones could never have foreseen the character-building capabilities of the game on today’s youth, not only across the country but around the world.

Golf provides kids of all ages, ethnicities, and socio-economic backgrounds with structure and discipline; it promotes confidence and enhances self-esteem; it provides valuable life lessons on interacting with their peers; and it teaches children that without some risk there is never any real reward. That it does all this while allowing them to have fun is the true beauty of this extraordinarily beautiful game.

But a sometimes overlooked yet equally valuable component is competition, and no one is more keenly aware of that than PGA Professional Thomas Hutton, Junior Golf Manager and Championship Director for the Southern Texas PGA. “Golf is a great teacher,” says Hutton, “and a great equalizer. Especially during competitive events, junior golfers get to experience first-hand the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat -- to borrow a well-worn sports phrase -- and learn that taking personal responsibility in dealing with and overcoming adversity on the course helps prepare them for the challenges they’ll face later on in their everyday lives.”

Widely recognized as one of the most extensive and successful junior programs in the U.S., the Southern Texas PGA sponsors and hosts a full docket of Junior Golf events each season, culminating with the annual Southern Texas PGA Junior Championship. “Traditionally we’ve offered a two-season program, Summer and School Year,” says Hutton, “but beginning in 2012 we’re going to go to three seasons – Spring, Summer, and Fall – and each season will have its own Championship.”

The expanded schedule is in response to the overwhelming and enthusiastic participation over the past few years. Indeed, 270 juniors of every age and ability level competed in the 2011 Junior Championship at Cypresswood Golf Club in August, with more than 2,800 juniors participating in the total series of events this year. It’s an opportunity for young golfers to experience the thrill of championship play in a tournament atmosphere, and it rewards players who devote the time and energy to improve their games.

While many of the Fall Series events are already full, there are still opportunities to get in on the excitement and fun. Each tournament has automatic exemptions into the upcoming Fall Series Championships, to be played December 3-4 at Pine Forest Country Club for the Junior Tour, and December 10-11 at Gleannloch Pines Golf Club for the Little Linksters.

Whether it’s to acquaint your child with the game for the very first time, or introduce him or her to the thrill of truly competitive golf, the STPGA’s Junior Golf program and its Championship Series of events will create golfing memories that will last a lifetime.

For more information contact the Southern Texas PGA office at (832) 442-2404, or visit their website, www.stpgajuniorgolf.com.


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