June 26, 2016 - 3:35pm
matthew.craig's picture
PGA Junior League Golf, growing the game
USA Today Sports Images
PGA Professionals and junior golfers at the PGA Merchandise Show.

The question always gets raised, "how do we get kids interested in golf?"

But lost in all the gimmicks is the most effective method: actually putting kids out on the golf course and letting them play.

That's what the PGA REACH program is trying to do with PGA Junior League Golf. And the numbers back up the simple fact that it's working.

(h/t to Griffin Adams of USA Today Sports)

“The program was created to introduce kids to the sport in a fun, recreational environment, playing on teams that would help us in the PGA’s mission to grow the game of golf and really allow golf to be thought of like every other youth team sport,” PGA Reach senior director Scott Kmiec said.

PGA Junior League Golf started in 2011 with 170 kids from 16 teams nationwide, but has exploded in growth to about 30,000 participants from 2,500 teams in 2015. Some of its leagues, which now span 48 states, are for participants age 13-and-under and others are 16-and-under.

All of the young golfers are playing for a chance to tee it up at the PGA Junior League Golf Championships in November at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.

However, the program isn't so much about the competition as it is introducing a love for the game.

“It’s not really like, ‘We’re (going to) beat you, we’re (going to) win,’” said 10-year-old Marty Russo, a participant in the program. “It’s more like, ‘Let’s have fun, and let’s see how it’s (going to) turn out.’ It’s more like just having fun, you can definitely tell.”

Participants are part of a team, and wear jerseys with numbers on the back similar to what you'd expect from other youth sports. And the PGA JLG provides subsidized costs and financial assistance for kids who couldn't normally afford to play.

With support from players like Rory McIlory, Rickie Fowler, and Michelle Wie, and great venues like Congressional Country Club, it's not hard to imagine continued growth for PGA Junior League Golf.


 

PGA Junior League Golf catching on
June 25, 2016 - 4:46pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Jon Rahm
@PGATOUR on Twitter
Jon Rahm, the 36-hole leader at the Quicken Loans National, hit a shank on Saturday that was captured by Protracer.
Protracer charts Jon Rahm's shank at Quicken Loans National
June 25, 2016 - 4:33pm
matthew.craig's picture
ernie els
USA Today Sports Images

It may only be Saturday, but I've already found your shot of the week.

And it comes from the 46-year-old Ernie Els, who's in the hunt to win the Quicken Loans National at Congressional Country Club this week with improved putting and stellar iron play.

Sometimes the Big Easy just makes it look so...easy?

 

 

We've seen Els be good for so long, sometimes we take it for granted. But no matter how you look at it, that's a pretty solid way to pick up two strokes.

On top of that, Justin Ray of the Golf Channel has it down as his longest hole-out on tour since 2010.

 

Els finished the round with a six-under-par 65, completing his first bogey-free round in his last 115 rounds.

 

Ernie Els' slam dunk eagle
June 25, 2016 - 3:51pm
matthew.craig's picture
Twitter / The_Greenbrier
With the entire course under water and heavy damage to many buildings on the property, the PGA Tour has decided to cancel July's event.

Due to the extreme flooding in the West Virginia area, the Greenbrier Classic scheduled for July 7-10 has been cancelled.

“We are heartbroken by the devastation that the residents of West Virginia are experiencing at this time and the reports of lives lost due to the terrible flooding,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem in a statement. “Cancelling  The Greenbrier Classic is certainly the most prudent course of action as our foremost concern is the well-being of those who are having to live through this tragic situation. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.”

“All of our focus needs to be on helping all of the people of our great State. So many have lost loved ones, their homes, and have no place to go,” said Jim Justice, owner of The Greenbrier.

The floods, which have left at least 18 people dead, have been described as "unbelieveable." The resort has been forced to shut down until further notice.

 

 

 

 

In terms of what this means for golf, one event is taken out of a summer schedule that is compressed due to the Olympics.

However, the cancellation of the event leaves one less chance for players to earn Ryder Cup points. See the current Ryder Cup points rankings here.

Bubba Watson, who lives at the Greenbrier, was on hand during Friday's floods and posted several pictures and videos to his Twitter account.

 

 

 

But it doesn't look like the Watson family has lost their spirits amid the devastation:

 

 

Greenbrier cancelled due to flooding
bubba watson, jeep
Twitter / BubbaWatson

Bubba Watson has made one thing pretty clear during his PGA career: he likes cool vehicles.

First it was "Bubba's Hover," a golf cart using hovercraft technology. But now it appears his interest has returned to the pavement.

Watson posted a picture on his Twitter page yesterday showing off an all-black jeep that will undoubtedly turn some heads.

Or maybe it's a tank? It's hard to tell.

The word "building" makes me think this was custom made, which is believable considering the massive frame and giant tires. Unfortunately I don't think this one is allowed on a golf course.

Still, how fun would it be to go off-roading in this vehicle?

 

 

 

Bubba Watson's latest custom car is this new all-black Jeep
toddler golf
Instagram / katherynblewett

How young is too young to start your kids on golf?

One 16-month-old toddler has decided he's going to start himself, and has gotten creative in his practice methods.

Using a plastic golf club, young Sam Blewett activates his family's ice machine, letting the ice fall onto the floor where he can then use the ice cubes as golf balls.

(h/t GolfDigest)

 

OK I grant you that his grip isn't ideal. But the contact is solid, I love the clubhead speed, and look how well he keeps his head down! He's got a little time to learn the rest.

And don't try and get in the way of Sam's practice routine, as this dog soon found out.

 

 

Think Sam is a one-trick pony with the ice? All that practice on the living room floor has translated nicely to the plastic ball in the backyard.

 

 

When your 15mth old has a better golf swing than you @gregblewett214 @golfgrinders @golf_gods #golf #golfer

A video posted by Katheryn Blewett ❤️ (@katherynblewett) on

 

I may be going out on a limb, but 16-month-old Sam Blewett may be a a better golfer than Tiger Woods was at 16 months. Ladies and gentleman, I present your favorite for the 2034 PGA Championship.

Toddler gets creative with his golf practice