U.S. Kids Golf
Northside Junior players participating in ‘central Mississippi local tour’
Junior golfers on the Northside now have another opportunity to experience the rigors of tournament play.
Country clubs and golf clubs across the area are now participating in U.S. Kids Golf, and are hosting events on the “Central Mississippi Local Tour.”
The first tournament was on July 9 at Reunion Golf and Country Club, and the last is the tour championship slated for September 17 at Annandale Golf Club.
The program is being offered thanks in large part to the efforts of Chad Darby, head golf professional and director of instruction at Annandale.
“I got a call from a parent who asked if I would be interested in it, so I picked up the phone and called U.S. Kids Golf, and with a series of calls and e-mails, we convinced them we could make it happen.”
Approximately 35 kids had signed up for the Reunion event at press time.
Darby is pleased with the interest shown in the first tournament, but was especially inspired by the willingness of local clubs to participate.
“I was very reluctant asking (clubs) to donate a Sunday morning for kids golf, but when I asked them, I didn’t have to finish my sentence – every club agreed. I made eight phone calls and had eight golf courses.
“That speaks volumes for local clubs, parents and professionals who want to grow the game of golf.”
Other participants are Reunion, Deerfield Golf Club, Country Club of Jackson, Lake Caroline Golf Club, Bay Pointe Golf and Resort, Castlewoods Country Club and the Pearl Municipal Golf Course, according to the U.S. Kids’ Web site.
The tour is open to children ages five to 14, and all skill levels.
“Basically, the motto for U.S. Kids Golf is there’s a place for everyone – for kids who want to play in college or professionally, or those who want to play with their buddies,” he said.
Tour events give junior golfers a chance to play against some of the toughest competitors at home and across the globe.
“You play well locally, you can go to the regional, and then the national,” he said. “You can actually go to the world championship, which is played at Pinehurst (Golf Resort),” he said.
Participants do not have to be members of the area’s various country clubs to sign up, but do have to register with U.S. Kids, and pay a registration fee.
Darby said the tournaments are perfect for local families, because they cut down on travel expenses, and give children an opportunity to participate against the area’s top juniors.
“If you look at collegiate golf now, Mississippi is definitely making a name for itself, so there’s no need to travel outside the state to find competition.
“Another great thing about the tour is that U.S. Kids is one of the few organizations that encourages family and friends to (participate). For smaller kids, parents can carry their bags and talk to (them during the tournament),” he said.
The tournaments are one-day events. Younger kids play nine holes, while older ones play 18.
Even kids who don’t win can be recognized for their achievements.
Those who improve their skills and “finish well” are also awarded trophies, medallions and the like. “U.S. Kids wants to make children feel that they are successful,” Darby said. “If you finish well, you get some form of trophy.”
U.S. Kids Golf, LLC was founded in 1996, at first, as a company to manufacture golf products especially for children, according to its Web site.
In 2000, the company held its first “world championship” golf tournament, and in 2001, a nonprofit foundation was formed to oversee golf tournaments and other initiatives.
The organization is not affiliated with the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA).
For more information, contact Darby at email@example.com.