The future of golf depends on introducing young players to the game and developing their emerging talents.
What better way to spark that interest and gauge their abilities than the national Drive, Chip and Putt competition?
Juniors ages 7-15 are eligible, and they don’t need a handicap or a club affiliation. They don’t even need any money, because it’s absolutely free.
“Free is awesome,” said Northeastern New York PGA tournament director Doug Evans, who will help oversee two local qualifiers. The first is set for July 12 at the Town of Colonie Golf Course at 11:30 a.m., while the second will be held July 19 at Van Patten Golf Club at 10 a.m.
Boys and girls will compete in the 7-9, 10-11, 12-13 and 14-15 age divisions. There are 256 local qualifiers, and three juniors will advance from each age/gender category. They advance to 51 subregional sites in August, including Town of Colonie for the Capital Region, from which two juniors in each age/gender category advance to the regionals this September, to be held at a course downstate.
One junior from each age/gender category (80 players overall) then moves on from the 10 regional sites to the national finals April 5 at Augusta National Golf Club to perform right before the Masters.
Three different skills will be tested, and contestants will take three shots per skill. In the driving competition, players must keep their tee shots within a 40-yard wide fairway. They receive a point for every 25 yards they hit the ball, from 25 yards to more than 300 (really?). Maximum points total for each drive is 25 points, meaning the maximum any player can get in the driving competition is 75 points.
In the chipping contest, each participant will attempt three chips from 10 to 15 yards in length. Various lies will be used for the various age divisions, and players will be placed in teeing areas that require lofted clubs rather than a putter. The point breakdown will be 25 points for a hole in one, 20 points for a ball finishing two inches or nearer the hole, 15 points for a ball two to four inches from the hole, 10 points for a ball finishing four to six inches from the hole, five points for a ball finishing six to eight inches from the hole and one point for a ball from eight to 10 inches from the hole.
Putting will be similar to chipping with a point distribution from one to 25.
“I think it’s a fun way to introduce the youngsters to the game,” said Evans. “We’re talking about three skills that are the pure basics of the game in driving, chipping and putting. Everybody is eligible, and there is no requirement or level of player. Even if you haven’t picked up a club before, you are still invited to participate. It’s also a good way for some of the players to gauge where they are.”
Evans said ribbons will be awarded to the qualifiers in each competition.
“I think that chipping and putting are the most challenging for the juniors, especially for the younger kids,” said Evans.
“We think it’s a great deal for families, There isn’t going to be a huge time commitment. It will probably take about an hour and a half for the whole thing.”
Volunteers are needed to help coordinate the various skills competitions.
For more information, contact the NENYPGA at 438-8645 or visit www.neny.pga.com.
I was asked to review the new Renegar RX14 wedge series, and I got a chance while playing Friday at Eagle Crest Golf Club.
Although they have a complete line of wedges, I tried the 56-degree sand wedge. Very nice looking — all silver — and extremely light. The wedge got the ball up in the air quickly on full shots, and you could get plenty of speed because of the small air groove on the back.
Renegar makes it simple to align the club, and it has a great feel on full shots. I had trouble on some of the shorter half-shots, but then again, that’s always been one of my major weaknesses.
I didn’t have an opportunity to open the wedge up for flip/flop shots or bunker shots yet, but the setup appears to make that quite easy.
I must confess that the few chip shots I tried came up well short, because I didn’t allow for such a quick stop on the green. I normally chip with a 9-iron or 8-iron anyway.
If the rest of this set is as easy to hit as the sand wedge, Renegar should have a great weapon in the battle for supremacy in the wedge game for the average player.
u The local qualifier for the New York State Amateur, to be held July 22-24 at Bellevue Country Club, will be Monday at Colonie Golf & Country Club.
u Local club pros team up with junior golfers in the annual NENYPGA Pro-Junior Championship Monday at Hiland Golf Club.
u Town of Colonie Golf Course hosts the next Eastern New York Golf Association event Wednesday.
u NEWGA’s Two Best Balls of Four tournament will be played Wednesday at The Edison Club.
u The annual ALS Memorial golf tournament, held Wednesday at Van Patten, raised $123,300 for the St. Peter’s ALS Regional Center, pushing the total contribution to more than $1.5 million in 24 years. Tom Gleaves won the James W. Michaels low gross award, and T.J. Dwyer captured the C. Daly low net championship.
u The Gazette’s 17th annual Capital Region Newspaper in Education Junior Golf Championship will be held Aug. 1 at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course. Entry fee is $35 and includes lunch and prizes. There will be an 8 a.m. shotgun start. Competition will be divided into three divisions: boys’ 12-14, boys’ 15-18 and girls’ 12-18. Gross and handicap awards will be awarded in each division. Proceeds benefit the Gazette’s Newspapers in Education program. Make checks payable to The Gazette, and do not send cash. Send entries to N.I.E. Junior Golf Tournament, The Gazette, 2345 Maxon Road, Ext. P.O. Box 1090, Schenectady, NY 12301-1090. Entry deadline is July 24. The first 120 entries will be accepted in order or postmark.
u The Capital Region will host the 59th annual state Junior Elks Tournament for the third time on Aug. 4 at Orchard Creek Golf Course. The local qualifier for the event will be held July 15 at 8:45 a.m. at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course. Age divisions will be 12-14 boys and girls, 15-16 boys and girls and 17-18 boys and girls. Entry fee is $20, and includes golf, lunch, and prizes for the top two players in each group. Checks should be made out to Rotterdam Elks Lodge #2157. For more information, contact Paul Ungerland (384-0221).
u The Lady Hilltopper Golf Scramble will be held July 12 at Mohawk Valley Golf & Country Club in Little Falls. Entry fee is $70 and includes golf, cart, dinner buffet, contests and gift bag. There will be a 1 p.m. shotgun start. Contact Fort Plain girls’ basketball coach Phil Karker at 844-6943 for more information.
u Schenectady Municipal Golf Course will host the annual Peter Famiano Memorial Golf Tournament as part of the 2014 Schenectady City School District Athletic Hall of Fame festivities. The tournament will be held Sept. 7. Entry fee is $300 per foursome and includes golf, cart, continental breakfast and buffet following golf. Contact Bob Pezzano at 346-9297 for more information. Entry deadline is Aug. 22. The field will be limited to the first 28 foursomes.
Kris Ostrander aced the 182-yard second hole at Mohawk Golf Club during the Ellis Medicine Pro-Am last week.
Diane Brisson aced the 141-yard eighth hole with a driver at Stadium Golf Club.
John Duffy, playing in the Clifton Knolls league, used an 8-iron for his hole-in-one on the 105-yard sixth hole.
Tony DeStefano collected his second hole-in-one of the season on the 154-yard eighth hole with a 7-iron at Amsterdam Municipal.
At Saratoga Lake Golf Club, Alfred Dal Pos aced the 153-yard 14th hole with an 8-iron.
Doug Forbes hit a 5-iron for his perfect shot on the 163-yard 11th hole at Airway Meadows Golf Club.
Two players in the same foursome collected holes-in-one at Cobleskill Golf & Country Club last week. Gary Brown aced the 100-yard eighth hole using a gap wedge, and Bob Suwinski holed out with a 5-iron on the 170-yard 17th hole.
Edward O’Hanlon posted his first-ever hole-in-one with an 8-iron on the 130-yards 17th hole at Fairways of Halfmoon.
Dean Halpin of the Goldcrest Electronics Divots league eagled the first hole with a pitch shot from the back of the green, and he also eagled the 10th hole while competing in a mid-season tournament at Windy Hills.
Mark Cintula eagled the ninth hole while competing in the A.O.H. league at Schenectady Municipal Golf Course.
Mike Fariello eagled the 14th hole at Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course.