During our third Canadian Junior Golf Association event I was standing on the 17th tee at University Golf Course with Barrie McWha, one of my early mentors. We started talking about junior golf today compared to years ago while we watched a group of “kids” tee off with four long, solid, straight tee shots bombed down the 17th fairway. You may not believe it, given the currently deteriorating state of my game, but I was once a good Junior Golfer.
I played on two Manitoba Junior Teams at the Canadian Junior, won the Western Canadian Juvenile and finished in the top 10 of the Canadian Juvenile to go along with 2 top 3 finishes in the Manitoba Junior (although no victory). I also played with many great juniors in my time including Rob McMillan, two years my junior, along with slightly older players such as Todd Fanning, both of whom regularly kicked my A$$. But my “career” as a junior golfer remains among my greatest memories from my junior high and high school days.
Golf as been great to Tara and I from a career and more recently a lifestyle perspective, however as I’ve watched the Juniors playing in the Canadian Junior Golf Association tournaments the past three B.C. events, I do not think in any way shape or form I was at their playing level – ever! Of course back then we played the Manitoba Junior and Amateur and a couple of Junior Opens which was considered a full tournament schedule.
Today’s juniors are competing in more events then the average PGA Tour Professional and some of them have coaches and/or nutritionists on site at each event. They are certainly receiving more coaching than most juniors my age ever did. In British Columbia, between the CJGA, MJT and BCGA tournaments there is almost the opportunity for these young golfers to play a tournament every week from spring break until early October and many of them actually do. We hope these great young players don’t suffer the effect of burnout before they reach their full potential. We want them to enjoy the game of a lifetime for many years.
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