Category - Amateur Programs
For Ryley Regan, PGA Jr. League and Golf is All About Having Fun
By Hayley Wilson
Ryley Regan hits her tee shot at a recen tournament.
It’s most fitting how 12-year-old Ryley Regan’s love of golf began.
“Ryley saw kids playing PGA Jr. League at our course when she was seven years old,” her mom, Jessica, says. “She’d never even touched a golf club or shown any interest before that. She saw them playing together and said, ‘I have to do that.’ From that day forward she has never put a club down. She wanted to be a part of it.”
Now, she’s competing with Team Connecticut at the 13u National Car Rental PGA Jr. League Championship at PGA Frisco’s Fields Ranch West this week.
As Ryley grew up through golf and became more competitive, her family eventually joined PGA Coach Bob Sparks’ Torrington Country Club program. Not knowing if she’d even be selected for the All-Stars, she joined for the fun and friendships. Fellow competitors in the local junior circuits soon became even closer teammates.
At the end of the day, her mom says, Ryley was simply enjoying the season while also putting in the hard work to improve each week. It clearly paid off.
Ryley might be the only girl on the Connecticut squad, but that doesn’t mean she’s an outsider . . . far from it, actually.
“We’ve absolutely found a community in this team,” says Jessica. “The boys have taken her under their wings, and they look out for her as the only girl. She’s definitely the mother hen making sure everyone’s eating and drinking out there with her bag full of snacks.”
Plus, it’s made her a better player. The experience of playing with boys has made her a well-rounded competitor, and while Ryley's journey to the 13u Championship might be new, she is no stranger to the national –– and international –– stage.
Ryley’s competed among adults in the Massachussett’s Women’s Amateur Championship two years in a row now. At 11, she was the youngest player in the 2022 field, and she traveled to Northern Ireland in July and captured the Girls 11-12 age division in the U.S. Kids Golf Irish Open.
But while the thrill of competition is fun, at the end of the day, Ryley is a kid having fun.
“As competitive as she is and as well as she wants to be doing, she didn’t even realize the team was in the final round to make it to Texas,” says Jessica. “She’s out there having fun.”
Ryley is the oldest of four sisters, and each and every one of them has been introduced to the game through PGA Jr. League.
“PGA Jr. League is such a great start,” said Jessica. “Even if you’re not looking to be competitive, it’s such a great way to make friends and do something different. My husband does so much business on the golf course, and we always said we wanted the girls to learn to play.”
It’s clear Ryley’s parents, and the girls’ participation in PGA Jr. League, have instilled a strong sense of teamwork in them.
“I think there is something to be said for learning how to be a partner,” adds Jessica. “To have someone else to rely on … golf is such an individual sport. We’ve talked with Ryley so many times about being there for your partner and being encouraging. It’s the same with life; you have to learn how to work with other people.”
Competing and winning by yourself is one thing, but doing it as part of a team is another entirely. If you ask her mom, it speaks perfectly of her daughter’s character.
“Ryley is a great golfer with a ton of talent, but she is also the hardest working and most caring kid,” notes Jessica. "She’s kind, and she puts everyone else ahead of herself. She never asks for anything. She’s always thinking about other people.”