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Junior golf tournaments and yardages help please


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#1 kurtg2020

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 10:46 AM

A little background on myself, I am 42, I have been playing golf since I could walk.  I played in all the local junior tournaments around, but when I got to junior high, I starting playing football, however I still played golf in local junior tournaments.  In fact I played on an Oldsmobile Scramble team my junior year of high school that made it to the final rounds in Orlando.  I was like many of you where my dad would take me out on the weekends and we would play golf and that's how I learned to play, however I did participate in our clubs junior golf program. My son, who is 7 now, has been playing for 3 years now, hits the ball good, but as with most kids, his putting lacks some touch. :) Anyway, he played in his first junior tournament this past week, just a local all city tournament, three rounds at three different course.  He played well, handle himself well, he four putted a green and saw him get mad.  I was happy to see him get mad, because I know he cares about how he is doing.  The next hole he came back with a four, so I was proud of him they way he bounced back.  I walked with him all 3 days, and I am somewhat amazed, concerned, disappointed, in the way the parents acted and some of the kids carried themselves.  This is the same all city that I played in when I was his age all the way through high school, and one gentlemen ran it and did a wonderful job.  Now, it seems that it has fallen on the local pros to run it, and it is not a priority for them. So I am thinking about volunteering my time and trying to get it back to what it once was.  The reason I am writing this to get some input from some of you that have been to junior tournaments and might have some suggestions on what you have seen.
Yardages  Boys and Girls 15-18   18 Holes - Men's tees
                 Boys and Girls 13-14   18 Holes - Ladies Tees
                 Boys and Girls 10-12    9 Holes - Ladies Tees between 2600 and 2800 yards depends on course - Is that yardage too long for that young of kids?  Looking at US kids yardages, this might seem a bit long. I have a daughter who is 10, and she jumped from 5 holes to 9 holes and she lost interest, so I want to find yardages that keep kids having fun.
                 Boys and Girls 9 and Under - 5 holes - Holes anywhere between 85 - 165.  This is the division my son was in, I felt the yardages where good for him.  However the first day he played with a kid who was 5 and shot over 60.  Should there be a 6 and under group that plays three holes? and have a 7-9 year old division?
Now I was raised to count everything, and that is how my son plays, but on the last day, we played with a kid who whiffed, of course I count it.  His mother disagrees with me so I told her that when we get it, we will ask the pro and see what he says.  When we get in, the pro says that he should count, and the mother says that the first two days that no one counted them.  The kid that I was keeping score for ends up tied for 3rd, has to play a playoff hole.  Ends up losing and of course the mother blames me.
Any help or suggestions anyone has would be greatly appreciated, I know it is getting tougher and tougher with everything going on and different activities pulling kids and families in different directions, but my hope is to keep kids interested in golf.
Thanks in advance.


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#2 heavy_hitter

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 11:42 AM

There is a definite struggle that you will have.  The problem is balancing out yardages to keep the better players interested while having a yardage that the recreational player can still have fun with.  The other problem you will encounter is putting kids into correct age groupings.  I really don't think you can say "Play the Men's tees".   The majority of Girl's can't play from the men's tees.

Here is how I would do it.

Boy's 13-18   18 holes. All play the same tees from approximately 6400-6600 yards.  This yardage will be typical of boy's playing high school golf.  A 13 year old should have no problem playing from this yardage.  If you have to, you could make a B division that plays from 9 holes.

Girl's 13-18  9 holes.   All play the same tees from approximately 5200-5600 yards.  This yardage will be  typical of girl's playing high school golf.  If you have to make a B division that plays from 9 holes.

Boy's 11-12  This is where it gets really tricky.  A 10 year old can't play from the same distances as a 12 year old.  I have seen plenty of junior golf and it just isn't happening.  11-12 year old boy's should be playing 18 holes from typically 5,600-5,800 yards.  If you need to make a B division that plays 9 holes from the forward tees.

Girl's 11- 12 9 Holes.  All play from the forward tees.

Boy's & Girl's 10 and Under  Fairway tees 150 yards on par 4's and 250 yards on par 5's.  75-100 yards on par 3's.  If the 10 year old is better than that then they can play up a division.  5 holes.

You can also do a pee wee division that plays 3 holes from even shorter divisions.

I would make a max score of 10 on any hole.  Our local league makes it double par you pick up and add 1 to the score.  US Kids is 10 strokes max which is easier to keep up with.

The kids need to know the rules early.  If they swing and the intent was to hit the ball, but they miss then it is a stroke.

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#3 kurtg2020

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 12:53 PM

Thanks for the reply, I agree with you on that a 10 year old can't play the same distance as a 12 year old.  Like I said my daughter is 10 and she could not complete with a 12 year old, not saying all 10 year old can't, but I know locally, most of the 10 year olds cannot keep up with 12 year olds.  
Thanks for the help!

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#4 JimDiGritz

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 03:11 AM

Really interesting discussion, especially as a parent who doesn't play.

At my son's club the juniors (9-15yrs) all play off the Men's tees (6440 yds), unless it's a competition for the lower handicap boys (eg the 21 h/cap 11 yr old) and then they all play off the comp tee's (6680 yds).

I've never seen a junior play off the ladies or junior tee's....

Edited by JimDiGritz, 17 August 2017 - 03:11 AM.


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#5 heavy_hitter

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 06:22 AM

View PostJimDiGritz, on 17 August 2017 - 03:11 AM, said:

Really interesting discussion, especially as a parent who doesn't play.

At my son's club the juniors (9-15yrs) all play off the Men's tees (6440 yds), unless it's a competition for the lower handicap boys (eg the 21 h/cap 11 yr old) and then they all play off the comp tee's (6680 yds).

I've never seen a junior play off the ladies or junior tee's....

A 9 year old playing from 6400+ yards?  They have to be shooting 120+.


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#6 propredicr

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 11:14 AM

6400 for a 9 yo?  That's a recipe for some long, and painful rounds!  Forward (4100-4900) or reds (4900-5400) is what I've seen for 9-10's.

Even the 21 HC/11 yo's should be moved up from 6680.  I guess different philosophies on learning to score?

Edited by propredicr, 17 August 2017 - 11:22 AM.


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#7 MikekiM

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 12:12 PM

One of our local tours has a Developing Player 9u age group.  For kids that just want to have fun, they play shorter yardages, more lax with the rules, where whiffs aren't counted for example, max double par.  Always play only 9 holes.

Then they have the normal 7-9 age group which is a bit more competitive, no caddies on the greens, count all the strokes, no maximum score etc.  Sometimes they'll play 18 holes, depending on the course and yardage, sometimes they'll play 9.
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#8 Belmont148

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 02:10 PM

View PostJimDiGritz, on 17 August 2017 - 03:11 AM, said:

Really interesting discussion, especially as a parent who doesn't play.

At my son's club the juniors (9-15yrs) all play off the Men's tees (6440 yds), unless it's a competition for the lower handicap boys (eg the 21 h/cap 11 yr old) and then they all play off the comp tee's (6680 yds).

I've never seen a junior play off the ladies or junior tee's....

That's just dumb. Sounds like a real Jr. friendly club.
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#9 JimDiGritz

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Posted 18 August 2017 - 03:31 PM

Thanks for the feedback - my son and his high handicap peers shoot 115-120 around 18 - they are pretty pumped if they get a double bogey on any of the five 400+yd par 4s.

BTW this is no #humblebrag - my son has only been playing for a year and is just enjoying golf..

I've never seen the junior tees used... might be a UK thing???

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#10 tiger1873

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Posted 18 August 2017 - 08:35 PM

When it comes to yardages and kids I think it is really different for each kid. Some kids can drive father then others at a younger age.  Look at someone like Lexi Thompson when she was kid. She could play from the Mens tee's no problem. I think I seen somewhere at 13 or 14 she was driving father then the average man.

I will say most tournaments have good guidelines for kids starting out. There is nothing wrong in my opinion about US kids distances for tournaments based on age. There never is harm in doing a tournament that you feel is not long enough and some kids really do need the shorter distances. If your kid is a long hitter and scores well you it's time to age up to a longer yardage.   With Boys the distance really jumps pretty quick.  That is not the case with girls as a lot tournaments stick with shorter ladies tee's and the better tournaments are longer.

Edited by tiger1873, 18 August 2017 - 08:41 PM.


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