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IJGA Tip: Should Juniors Participate in Tournaments?

The International Junior Golf Academy in South Carolina is host to one of the world's premier junior golf camps. Read the tip below for some helpful tips from IJGA coaches regarding tournament play for aspiring competitive junior golfers.

As your young golfer continues to develop his or her skills, you will inevitably reach the time as a parent when you must decide if he or she is old enough to start competing. You definitely do not want to burn your child out with one golf training session after another, but it is also important to encourage the passion that he or she has for golf. You can do this by allowing your junior golfer to participate in tournaments when the time is right.

How old should my child be to start playing tournaments?

Kids can start playing tournaments when they are competent enough to play a full round in a timely fashion and know how to get around the course properly. This will vary based on a child’s playing experience and instruction. Most kids can begin to play tournaments within a few months of beginning formal instruction. The biggest factor should be when the child is comfortable enough to compete and has the desire.

Tournaments Provide Learning Moments

There are a number of reasons why participating in tournaments is beneficial to junior golfers, all of which go a long way toward helping them reach their personal and professional goals through the sport. One of the best ways to measure progress is by competing against others at the same level. Tournaments bring together junior golfers from all over and allow you to get a better sense of where a golfer stands competitively. It isn’t only about results on the leaderboard, either.

Tournaments test how well you perform mentally, as well as physically, so you know what you need to work on in your next round of training with a coach. For example, a junior golfer competing in his first tournament may find that nerves get the best of him during his approach shots. He can then go back to the drawing board and fine-tune mechanics to adjust.

The Benefits of Watching Tournaments

Not only does playing in a tournament help to improve your golf game, watching others compete also provides invaluable experience. If possible, it is a good idea for junior golfers to attend and watch tournaments. This allows them to pick up tips from pros, or from other amateurs, and see what other golfers do that leads them to success or failure. For example, attending a PGA Tour event gives you a chance to see how top professionals approach any given situation out on the course, and you might even end up receiving a few personal tips from them, as well!

Check Qualifications and Eligibility Requirements

When you are looking for the first junior golf tournament in which to participate, it is important to be mindful of eligibility requirements. Some events may have certain age limits, while others require you to obtain a certain qualifying score at another event first. As you age and continue to improve, you will find yourself entering more prestigious tournaments.

If you are also a member of a high school golf team, it is of the utmost importance that you clear events with your coach beforehand. With college on the horizon, and the prospect of scholarships, you don’t want to be caught in a position where you are found ineligible for collegiate golf because you participated in a tournament or event you shouldn’t have.

Whether you are thinking about signing your junior up for his or her first golf tournament or your child is already active on the circuit, know that tournaments provide experience and lasting memories. For a positive learning experience in a fun, camp environment, visit IJGA Golf Camps to learn about summer and year-round opportunities in Hilton Head, SC.

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