Based on the caliber of players who competed on the Northeastern New York PGA Junior Golf Tour and participated in such major events as the Gazette Newspapers in Education Junior Golf Championship, the future of the game in the Capital Region is in good hands.
The next generation of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelsons and Annika Sorenstams will be well schooled in the rules and the etiquette of the game. It will also be extremely talented.
According to NENYPGA Junior Golf Tour tournament director Doug Evans, area juniors don’t have to leave home any more to play competitive golf every week.
“We have 187 members in the NENYPGA Junior Golf Tour right now, and that stacks up very comparably with other areas around the country,” said Evans. “There is plenty of interest here in junior golf, but there is another level of kids we are still trying to reach. We do well with the younger players, but the juniors who compete on the high school varsity and JV teams don’t seem to play on our tour. It is our goal this year to get more of them playing every week with us.”
Evans said the PGA’s local junior program provides everything the young players need to play the game and to enjoy it for a lifetime.
“Juniors age 8 through 18 are eligible. We want them to learn how to compete, and we want to get them ready for their high school matches. For those few kids who will go on to college, we want to prepare them for the competitive nature of golf at that level. We also want to teach them golf etiquette and all the rules.
“Golf is one of the few sports where the players call the infractions on themselves. We want to show them how important it is to hold themselves to a higher standard,” Evans said.
The NENYPGA Junior Golf Tour has seven events, plus a championship tournament in August.
“The primary goal of the NENYPGA Junior Golf Tour is to provide an avenue of competition accessible to all junior golfers within the Northeastern New York PGA,” Evans said. “Emphasis is placed on the development of the unseasoned or new competitor. The atmosphere will be professional yet affordable and competitive, but most of all educational and fun. It is our belief that there are many
junior golfers ready to move forward to tournament golf with the hopes of generating a lifetime interest in the game.”
Last year, Chris Ferraro of Hurley was the Junior Boys’ Player of the Year with 579.33 points, followed by Glenmont’s Ryan Prinzo (566.40), Clifton Park’s Joe Macaluso (541), Chris Driscoll of Schenectady (51.83), Bradley Krohl of Clifton Park (430.05), Matt Horton of Troy (422.50), Ryan Simpson of Mechanicville (383.33), Matt McCaffrey of Albany (364.0), Nicholas Longo of Schenectady (358.66) and T.J. Sumigray of Amsterdam (365).
Annemarie Kissane of Albany, who is headed to the University at Albany on a golf scholarship, won the Junior Girls’ Player of the Year by scoring 1,230 points and slipping past Albany’s Macy Raimo (1,122.50). Rounding out the top 10 were Aimee Caligore of Lake Placid (877.50), Stephanie Bednar of Hudson (860), Bailey Cocca of Latham (817.50), Sarah Romer of Niskayuna (652.50), Jennifer Murphy of Clifton Park (580.00), Alli Dillenbeck of Voorheesville (390.00), Sarah Adamowski of Amsterdam (380.00) and Jessica Madson of Slingerlands (300).
Aside from the NENYPGA Junior Golf Tour, there are also other special junior tournaments, like the Gazette N.I.E. Junior Championship at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course, the New York State PGA Junior Championship at Leatherstocking Golf Club, the Jack Maxwell Tournament at Wolferts Roost Country Club, the Bob Mix Junior Championship at Albany Country Club and the NEGCSA Tournament at Fairways of Halfmoon.
May 10-11 — New York State PGA Junior Championship at Leatherstocking Golf Club; June 8 — Play Golf America Day at Stadium Golf Course; June 26 — NENYPGA JGT No. 1 at Capital Hills at Albany; June 28-29 — NENYPGA Junior Championship at Western Turnpike; July 2 — NENYPGA JGT No. 2 at Normanside CC; July 9 — NewYork State Junior Boys Qualfier at Town of Colonie GC; July 10 — NENYPGA JGT No. 3 at Ballston Spa CC; July 12 — NENYPGA Pro-Junior at Hiland GC; July 16 — NENYPGA JGT No. 4 at Airway Meadows GC; July 23 — NENYPGA JGT No. 5 at Windham CC; July 25 — Jack Maxwell Junior Championship at Wolferts Roost CC; July 27 — NENYPGA JGT Parent Child Championship at Van Patten; July 28 — NENYPGA PGA Bob Mix at Albany CC; Aug. 1 — Gazette N.I.E. Junior Championship at Schenectady Municipal; Aug. 5-6 — New York State Junior & Boys’ Championship at Oneonta CC; Aug. 5-6 — New York State Girls’ Championship at Oneonta CC; Aug. 7 — NENYPGA JGT No. 7 at Orchard Creek; Aug. 13 — NEGCSA Junior Championship at Fairways of Halfmoon; Aug. 16 — NENYPGA Junior Tour Championship, TBA.