PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- The popularity of PGA Junior League Golf has skyrocketed over the past year, as a record 8,000 boys and girls nationwide have registered for the 2013 season, representing an approximate 345 percent increase in participants. As a result, more than 700 teams across 33 states will be filled nationwide—a five-fold rise in PGA Junior League Golf teams over last year.
Similar in structure to Little League Baseball and youth soccer programs, PGA Junior League Golf introduces kids to the game of golf in a team setting under the direction of PGA and LPGA Professionals. The PGA of America and LEJ Sports partnered to bring PGA Junior League Golf to facilities across the country. Over 1,800 young golfers competed on more than 120 teams in 22 cities last year.
“We are delighted to report the phenomenal year-over-year growth and expansion of PGA Junior League Golf,” said PGA President Ted Bishop. “What started in just four markets in 2011 has evolved to reach thousands of kids nationwide today. The PGA of America anticipates that PGA Junior League Golf will soon become a household staple of youth sports programming, as our innovative team concept is fun, engaging, exciting and welcoming to kids of all ability levels.”
With 2012 United States Ryder Cup Team Captain Davis Love III serving as its Official Spokesperson, PGA Junior League Golf brings juniors into the game in an exciting new way, fostering a sense of sportsmanship and teamwork typically associated with other recreational team sports. Teams consist of kids ages 9 to 13, with no previous playing experience required. Much like other recreational league sports, PGA Junior League Golf participants receive team uniforms with jersey numbers. Rosters are co-ed with competitions being two-player scrambles, which reinforces the team concept and limits the pressure on any one player. Coaches can substitute players every three holes, so that all of the 10 to 14 golfers on each team can participate. Meanwhile, parents play an active role, making the program a family activity to create another generation of players to enjoy the game.
“To achieve more than 700 teams speaks volumes to the viral growth factor of the PGA Junior League Golf concept,” said Bob Longmire, CEO of PGA Junior League Golf in Atlanta. “Kids who see it want to become involved. They see friends in jerseys and want to know how they can be part of PGA Junior League Golf, too.”
Teams play regular-season matches before entering city, sectional and regional championships. Each regional champion advances to the PGA Junior League Golf Championship at TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth, Ga., this September. The Defending Champion is Team California, which won the 2012 PGA Junior League Golf Championship at Cog Hill Golf and Country Club, near Chicago.
To learn more about PGA Junior League Golf, please visit www.pgajrleaguegolf.com.
About PGA Junior League Golf
PGA Junior League Golf is the “Little League” approach to the great game of golf, where every youngster gets the chance to play. Designed to better socialize the game of golf for juniors 13 and under, PGA Junior League Golf features a team versus team format in a structured league that provides for a more popular, less stressful competition. The emphasis is on the fun, recreation and sportsmanship of the game for players at any skill level.
About The PGA of America
Since its founding in 1916, The PGA of America has maintained a twofold mission: to establish and elevate the standards of the profession and to grow interest and participation in the game of golf. By establishing and elevating the standards of the golf profession through world-class education, career services, marketing and research programs, The PGA enables its professionals to maximize their performance in their respective career paths and showcases them as experts in the game and in the multi-billion dollar golf industry. By creating and delivering world-class championships and innovative programs, The PGA of America elevates the public’s interest in the game, the desire to play more golf, and ensures accessibility to the game for everyone, everywhere. As The PGA nears its centennial, the PGA brand represents the very best in golf.