Youth Golf Hits Booming Drive in 2015
Given the formation of the Hainan Junior Golf Tour, the venerable sport has taken a huge step forward on Hainan this past year. The introduction of the Junior Golf Tour is giving young golfers between the ages of 6 to 18 a locally based venue to competitively hone their skills every month against other talented young golfers from around China.
Featuring monthly golf tournaments on the islands top courses, the Hainan Junior Tour is run by professional tournament organizers headed up by founder Ricky Chen. His goal is to allow the young participants to experience the sights, sounds and excitement of being in a real golf tournament.
“There is nothing like competitive tournaments to improve the skill level of our young golfers,” says Dr. Ron Cruickshank, CEO of Phoenix Golf Academy at Luihuitou and Coach to many of the Junior Tour participants.
According to Coach Cruickshank the Junior Tour is on par with the best China has to offer. “We strongly encourage our students to compete every month,” he recently stated to WOS. “Having verified strong competitive experience and results is what the top Universities and Colleges from around the world want to see. When our kids can show a track record of competitive and academic excellence over several years in a recognized program like the Hainan Junior Tour we generate lots of interest for scholarships. Admissions departments from US, Canada, Australia and Europe want these kind of quality kids in their programs.”
For the first time since 1904, golf will be in the Summer Olympics next year in Brazil. The inclusion of golf as an Olympic sport hasn’t gone unnoticed as sports officials have recognized that to have a chance to bring home a medal the country must create the support and infrastructure to encourage athletes to pursue golf. It is believed the Hainan Junior Tour is exactly the kind of support necessary to produce talented junior golfers.
When asked what it takes for China to have a world class golf program for youth Cruickshank was adamant that it is simple formula.
“You must have three things. Great coaching to instill the fundamentals is first. Then, you must give the kids a place to play and develop on a consistent basis. Last, you must place them in competition so they know how to compete and win under the pressure.”
“Having the Junior Tour available and run by a professional like Ricky Chen is a huge advantage for junior golf in Hainan. Given his leadership I think the Junior Tour will emerge as one of the best in China.”
For China, probably not a medal in the 2016 Olympics. However, with the emergence of the current cadre of young talented golfers it is hoped that by 2020 the country will field a competitive team.
Check out the Hainan Junior Tour on line and if you want to see the next generation of golfers go visit one of their tournaments. It is free, entertaining and you get a good walk thrown in.