From left: Brandon Tsujimoto, Connor Campbell and Kyle Nelius compete at a JAGS Tour event.
When it comes to golf, there’s no way to tell if practice makes perfect unless you get in the game. Beating balls on the range is great for honing skills, but beating players on the course is nice for bolstering self-confidence and validating your hard work.
“There’s no substitute for practice, but kids also need to play at least twice a week, and if it’s in formal events against players of similar ages and skill sets, that’s all the better,” said Steve Soule, PGA director of instruction at Black Gold Golf Club in Yorba Linda.
Southern California has a number of options for youths who want to tee it up in a tournament setting Here are a few:
The Junior Amateur Golf Scholars (JAGS) Tour is open to boys and girls ages 10-18 in the Western United States, and the organization is the only one in the country dedicated to scholastics, with academic scholarships for college available to qualifying participants. The organization’s one-, two- and three-day no-cut tournaments stress integrity, character, honor, leadership and good sportsmanship. For more information, call (562) 493-8416 or visit jagstour.com.
VENTURA COUNTY JUNIOR GOLF ASSOCIATION
The VCJGA operates year-round, and some events include players from Australia, Canada, England, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Financial assistance is available for those who qualify, and a scholarship fund has been established for deserving VCJGA members upon high school graduation. The summer series is played on weekdays and gives participants the opportunity to play private clubs as well as top public courses. For more information, call (805) 207-4653 or visit vcjga.org.
NORTH COUNTY JUNIOR GOLF ASSOCIATION
With events around San Diego County, the NCJGA organizes its tournaments by age and skill level. Golfers can play on either the Championship Tour or Executive Tour — the former has tournaments at full-size courses for experienced players; the latter holds events at executive courses and is ideal for beginners. Any junior golfer can register to play, with fee discounts and other benefits available to NCJGA members. For more information, call (760) 579-6634 or visit ncjga.com.
SAN DIEGO COUNTY JUNIOR GOLF ASSOCIATION
The SDJGA was established nearly 60 years ago with a commitment to enrich the lives of children through golf. Alumni of the organization include Phil Mickelson, Craig Stadler and Pat Perez. The association is perhaps best known for helping to create the annual Junior World Golf Championships, which continue this year beginning July 12 at various San Diego courses. Other tournaments are held throughout the year. For more information, call (858) 558-8277 or visit sdjga.org.
FUTURE CHAMPIONS GOLF TOUR
Based in San Diego, Future Champions Golf has year-round tournaments for golfers up to 18 years of age. The divisions are divided into Mini-Tour, National Tour and World Series, with different age groups and skill levels established for each grouping. Besides holding events in Southern California, the circuit has expanded to include stops in Texas, Nevada and Arizona. For more information, call (619) 339-2377 or visit futurechampionsgolf.com.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA PGA JUNIOR TOUR
The Southern California PGA shows its commitment to junior golf by offering players a chance to compete on numerous levels. The Junior Tour serves players with a wide range of abilities, while the Toyota Tour Cup Series stages college-preparatory two-day events at top courses. Juniors are invited based on the previous year’s Junior Tour point standings, Toyota Tour Cup qualifying schools and Toyota Tour Cup point standings from the previous year. For more information, call (951) 845-4653 or visit scpgajrtour.com.
VALLEY JUNIOR GOLF ASSOCIATION
The Inland Empire-based VJGA reopened in January 2008 with a focus on providing tournaments, instruction and life skills classes to juniors ages 6-18. Membership includes access to VJGA events, rules and etiquette classes, college counseling classes, discounted private lessons, clinics and access to the SCGA Youth on Course program. Former event participants include PGA Tour members Brendan Steele and Peter Tomasulo. For more information, call (951) 837-4756 or visit vjga.org.
SOUTHLAND GOLF 2011 JUNIOR ISSUE
Best in Class: Paolucci, Park top list of 10 rising stars
Junior Golf Road Map: How children can get started
Jacobs grows the game with Total Golf Adventures
Can golf video games create better players? Maybe
Directory of Junior Summer Camps, Clinics and more
Junior Golf Product Guide