The GO Junior Golf Series is gearing up for its 17th year, and series director and founder Mark Price is pleased that it has grown a lot over the past three years.
“We just took it from year to year and focused on trying to develop it,” Price said. “Over the past three years, there has been a really strong turnout. Twice last year we broke records, we had the highest numbers we had at Ben Hawes and the Tour Championship at Owensboro Country Club.
There were nearly 110 players at the Tour Championship and 113 at Ben Hawes.
“It’s been a really good year, we’ve seen a lot of managers benefit from the creation of their youth players’ clubs,” Price said. “We designed it for the entry-level player, and also for those who are going to try out for the high school golf team.”
Registration is now open for the Worth Insurance Group/Chick-Fil-A GO Junior Golf Series. There will be 16 tournaments and it is open to all juniors 18 and under. The series begins May 25 and ends July 14 at various courses in Western Kentucky.
The GO Series caters to both advanced golfers by preparing them for the upcoming competition of the high school season, while implementing age-appropriate tee boxes and maximum stroke limits for the developing golfer in younger divisions.
The last two years have been good for the GO series from a digital point of view. COVID-19 did not close golf courses and related entities in Spring/Summer 2020, in fact, they thrived as other summer sports were closed.
“We did well during COVID, we were able to expand, we were grateful that classes stayed open,” Price said. “We had no problems, we had a lot of participation because of other sports that were closed. We have managed the risks involved. The parents liked it because they had an outlet for the kids to do something. I had to talk to the coaches, the course managers, and we all said we could do it.
Last year there has been significant growth in the 13-15 age group, boys and girls 9 hole divisions.
Both boys and girls participated in events in large numbers in these age groups. There is also generally good turnout in the 16-18 age brackets.
“I don’t know why it was, but we had an absolute blast,” Price said.
Event numbers were high at Owensboro-area courses, with a range from the upper 80s to the 100s. There were 87 for last year’s series event at Bowling Green Country Club, where the KHSAA State Golf Tournament is played.
“Anytime you can run a junior golf event with 50 or more players, it’s a really good event, you have pretty good attendance,” Price said.
The age groups are: 8 minus (3 holes); 9-10 (six holes); 11-12 and 13-15 (nine holes); Championship 13-15 and 16-18 (18 holes).
The GO series is set to kick off on May 25 at the Bridges of Henderson. There will be a series event on June 6 at Windridge Country Club. There will be GO events at Hillcrest Golf Course on June 20, Ben Hawes Golf Course on June 23, Pearl Club on June 27 and Panther Creek Golf Club on July 7.
The Northern Series Championship is July 11 at Owensboro Country Club; the Southern Series Championship will take place on July 14 at Hopkinsville Golf & Country Club. Registration information can be found at www.gojuniorgolfseries.com.