Hundreds of junior golf players will arrive on Jekyll Island today to participate in the annual U.S. Kids Golf Jekyll Island Cup. Hailing from 25 states and 8 countries, these professional golfers-in-training will take to the island’s three 18-hole golf courses tomorrow and Sunday to further develop their already elite golf skills.
Now in its 10th year, this family-friendly golf frenzy offers young players two days devoted to practicing and playing this time-honored game on the greens. Golfers ages 5 to 14 will gather to practice their putting and drilling their drives on Jekyll Island’s pristine Pine Lakes course, which features family tee boxes ideal for younger players, as well as on Indian Mound and Oleander courses.
For the 2013 event, more than 300 junior players are registered to attend this educational and recreational weekend. As one of several regional tournaments hosted by the U.S. Kids Golf Foundation, the Jekyll Island Cup is considered a key tournament in the annual ranks of link play, with several past players having gone on to professional golfer status.
“This is an event which we are extremely excited and proud to host every spring on Jekyll,” said Jekyll Island Golf Director Rob Ellis. “Coaching younger players in the game of golf is not only a great way to show them new ways to tackle this life-long sport, but also showcases to them the fundamentals of mastering positive attitudes and appreciating hard work. Golf is a complicated game, and for players in this junior age bracket, being able to keep a good mindset is a skill they take with them off the course and into everyday life.”
Many of the players from past tournaments have gone on to earn high rankings in the golf arena.
Lexi Thompson is one such golf headliner. Thompson, who won the Girls 8 & Under division in 2004 and finished second in the Girls 9 division in 2005, is now on the LPGA Tour. The 18-year-old with an impressive swing won her first LPGA event in 2011, making her the youngest LPGA winner ever.
In 2006 and 2007, Mariah Stackhouse clinched the Jekyll Island tournament winning title. Today, she plays golf for Stanford University, and in 2012, was ranked No. 4 by Golfweek magazine.
Also in 2006 and 2007, Robby Shelton won the Jekyll Island tournament, and now as a high school senior, he is ranked No. 2 in his age bracket by Golfweek magazine. Current University of Georgia golf player Lee McCoy is likewise a former Jekyll Island tournament winner, having earned his title in 2004.
“The Jekyll Island Golf Club has been a wonderful host to U.S. Kids Golf since the inaugural World Championship in 2000,” said Dan Van Horn, Founder and President of U.S. Kids Golf. “The island is a great destination for families and this tournament has always been an important event on the U.S. Kids Golf tournament calendar.”
About Golf on Jekyll Island: Since the first course was laid out in 1898 for members of the infamous Jekyll Island Club, Jekyll Island has proudly hosted some of the sports’ greatest players and golf course designers. As Georgia’s largest public golf resort, Jekyll Island offers players 63 holes on four acclaimed golf courses: Pine Lakes, Indian Mound, Oleander, and Great Dunes. For more information about golf on Jekyll Island, visit jekyllisland.com or call our golf club at 912.635.2368.
About U.S. Kids Golf: The U.S. Kids Golf Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 2001. The vision of the U.S. Kids Golf Foundation is to provide children and their families the opportunity to participate in the game of golf through instruction and competition. Today, the U.S. Kids Golf Foundation conducts more than 700 local, regional, national, and international events. For more information, visit uskidsgolf.com.