PELHAM, Ala. (March 3, 2021) – The Alabama–NW Florida PGA announced Tuesday its junior golf programming and initiatives for the 2021 season. The slate of programming includes the return of the Alabama–NW Florida PGA Junior Tour, Youth on Course Alabama, the Foundation’s Scholarship Program, PGA Jr. League and Drive, Chip & Putt.
Encompassing all of its junior golf programming, the Section has put a premium on its #LETSGOPLAY initiative, introduced back in the summer of 2018. “Over the last three years, ‘Let’s Go Play’ has become more than just a social media tag – it’s an invitation,” says Hayden Lewis, PGA Manager of Communications & Foundation Development. “We believe everyone who plays the game of golf was originally invited to it in some form or fashion. We want to instill this into all of our programming, and ensure junior golfers feel welcomed no matter their background or ability. This is also true in life – we hope this invitation doesn’t stop at the golf course and can translate to other parts of our lives.”
The Junior Tour has become the Section’s flagship junior golf program, boasting a steady growth in overall participation by at least 6% in 2019 and 2020. In 2021, the Tour will enter its eleventh season with over twenty-two events taking place throughout May, June, July and August. The Junior Tour crosses competition with development opportunities for its players, and ultimately, aspires to be the most valuable competitive golf experience for juniors in Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. Making its return for a second season, Youth on Course Alabama will again be available for all 2021 Junior Tour Members through the Tour’s partnership with the Alabama Golf Association. The core purpose of Youth on Course is to help young people grow and succeed both on and off the course by providing opportunities to play and build relationships through affordable, inclusive access to facilities for $5 or less. “We are thrilled to enter the 2021 golf season with our friends at the Alabama Golf Association, and to continue our collaborative efforts to bring more access to golf facilities for youth across our Section,” says Executive Director, Bart Rottier. “Youth on Course has become an instrumental accompaniment to our Junior Tour Membership, and promises to make a difference in the lives of junior golfers for years to come.” In 2020, the Junior Tour saw a 27% participation rate for Youth on Course Alabama amongst its Membership. Registration for the 2021 Junior Tour season and Youth on Course Alabama opens on Wednesday, March 3.
The Alabama–NW Florida Golf Foundation announced on Wednesday the unveiling of its 2021 Scholarship Program. Established in 2020, the Scholarship Program exists to encourage and promote the attainment of higher education for youth who have demonstrated a high level of achievement during high school or college, have financial need, and have shown interest in the game of golf. The Foundation will again award scholarships to students who have participated in the Alabama–NW Florida PGA Junior Tour and students who have a direct lineage to a PGA Professional currently residing in the Alabama–NW Florida Section. In 2020, the Foundation awarded scholarships totaling $7,500 to four deserving students. “The Scholarship Program is symbolic to us for many reasons,” says Foundation President, Eric Eshleman, PGA. “The COVID-19 pandemic took a lot away from our normal operations last year. When we came to the table to share these scholarships, we wanted them to be meaningful for PGA Members and families in our Section – a long-time dream turned reality. We hope these scholarships become something similar in the lives of the students who receive them and remind them that their dreams are also valid – no matter how big or small.”
Additionally, the Section shared in the excitement for the 2021 Drive, Chip & Putt Qualifying season. After COVID-19 put a halt to DCP operations in 2020, the Alabama–NW Florida PGA has its sights set on four local and one sub-regional qualifiers to take place in 2021. Below is a full list of DCP qualifiers in the Alabama–NW Florida Section:
- Tuesday, June 8 – RTJ Golf Trail at Magnolia Grove | Mobile, Ala.
- Sunday, June 13 – RTJ Golf Trail at Hampton Cove | Owens Cross Roads, Ala.
- Tuesday, June 22 – RTJ Golf Trail at Silver Lakes | Glencoe, Ala.
- Tuesday, July 6 – Bent Brook Golf Course | Bessemer, Ala.
- *Sunday, August 22 – RTJ Golf Trail at Capitol Hill | Prattville, Ala.
- *Denotes Sub-Regional Qualifier
“Our relationship with these local PGA Professionals and the RTJ Golf Trail to conduct these qualifiers has been phenomenal over the last several years,” says Executive Director, Bart Rottier. “We could not be more excited to help bring DCP back this summer, and add to the memories it creates for thousands of kids and their families across our Section.” In 2018 and 2019, the Section played host to over 1,100 junior golfers in 10 local and sub-regional qualifiers. Registration for the 2021 qualifying season is now open via drivechipandputt.com.
Finally, the Alabama–NW Florida PGA Section will host its PGA Jr. League Section Championship on August 8-9, 2021 at Valley Hill Country Club in Huntsville, Ala. PGA Jr. League has become a game-changing opportunity for PGA Professionals to bring communities together through fun, team golf experiences. From 2018 through 2020, over 2,200 junior golfers participated in PGA Jr. League in the Alabama–NW Florida Section. Captain and players registration is now open for the 2021 season.
To learn more about all junior golf opportunities for 2021 in the Alabama–NW Florida Section head to www.alabamanwfloridapga.com/junior-golf.
Media Contact: Hayden Lewis, PGA | firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT THE ALABAMA–NW FLORIDA PGA
The Alabama – NW Florida PGA is one of 41 sections that make up the PGA of America. Our Section is headquartered in the Birmingham suburb of Pelham, Alabama at Ballantrae Golf Club. Established in 1969, the Section consists of over 400 Members and Associates in the state of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. The Section exists to support its Members who are the driving force to growing the sport and business of golf.