On Jekyll Island, golf is a legacy in its own right. Since the first course was laid out more than 100 years ago, Jekyll Island has proudly hosted some of the sport’s greatest players. This spring, Jekyll Island is proud to again host a new generation of professional golfers-in-training, with the annual U.S. Kids Golf Tournament, being held March 23 and 24, with March 22 as a practice day.
Now in its 11th 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 6 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 Jekyll’s two other 18-hole courses, Indian Mound and Oleander.
For the 2013 event, Jekyll Island Golf Director Rob Ellis is expecting more than 300 junior players to attend this educational and recreational weekend. As one of several regional tournaments hosted by the U.S. Kids Golf league, 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 have held on Jekyll Island every spring,” said 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.”
Though the two-day tournament is centered on playing the game and not providing instruction, educating a younger generation about the game is a major goal of the Jekyll Island Golf Club. Beyond the two-day U.S. Kids Golf Tournament, a strong foundation has been laid for junior golfers on Jekyll Island. The Jekyll Island Golf Club’s Pine Lakes course was renovated in 2002 to now include two sets of junior tee boxes, and was recognized by U.S Kids Golf as one of the few courses in the country to set this standard.
In 2011, Ellis’ leadership with youth was recognized, as he was named a 2011 U.S. Kids Golf Top 50 Instructor Honorable Mention. This year, Ellis was also honored prestigious recognition from the Georgia Section of the PGA, being named one of only three state-wide winners of the Junior Golf Leader award.
Additionally, Ellis, along with golf apprentices Kevin Tuerff and Spencer Bookman, regularly coach approximately 40 junior golfers under the age of 14 in summer camps. Much like the annual U.S. Kids Golf Tournament, these week-long camps introduce young players to the game. During the camps, golfers ages 6 to 14 are instructed by the Club’s PGA professionals on all aspects of the game, from chipping and putting lessons, to on-course instruction and proper golf etiquette.
“When teaching junior golf, we are setting the groundwork for the golfers of tomorrow,” Ellis said. “On Jekyll Island, we strongly believe in developing solid golf skill sets in younger players. Learning to play golf is more than tackling a new sport. It is opening the door for an entire set of important life skills.”
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 www.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 400 local, regional, national, and international events. For more information, visit www.uskidsgolf.com.