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December 22, 2022

AGA, Alabama-NW Florida Section collaborate on Junior Golf Alabama

By Alabama Golf News Staff
Junior Golf Alabama logo

One new program introduces golf in phys-ed classes to ages 6 and up

The Alabama Golf Association and the Alabama-NW Florida PGA Section have combined forces to start Junior Golf Alabama, a collaboration focused on junior golf for kids, parents, coaches, golf administrators, and PGA Professionals.

By creating new educational, instructional, and playing opportunities, JGA will streamline the junior golf roadmap while bridging existing programs to further the development of junior golf in Alabama and NW Florida.

“Combining the governing bodies’ respective missions for golf in Alabama and Northwest Florida permits us to collectively develop a sustainable program to promote the game of golf in new communities while elevating playing opportunities for junior golfers throughout our geographic footprint,” said Andy Priest, executive director of the Alabama Golf Association.

“Our goal with Junior Golf Alabama is to weave together and support well-established junior programs such as the Birmingham Golf Association, Youth on Course, PGA Jr. League while filling in the gaps with new instructional programming and competitive playing opportunities,” Priest said.

Junior Golf Alabama: Facilitating entry into golf

By merging and reinventing junior golf initiatives of both the Alabama Golf Association and Alabama-NW Florida PGA Section into one collaborative program, Junior Golf Alabama will present prospective junior golfers and their families with a robust set of resources to support the player pathway through the development journey.

JGA will be operated by a team of staff from both the Alabama Golf Association and the Alabama-NW Florida PGA Section, along with support from PGA professionals across the section.

“The Alabama-NW Florida Section of the PGA is thrilled to join the Alabama Golf Association in forming Junior Golf Alabama. With the expertise of both associations working together, Junior Golf Alabama will provide youth with opportunities to learn and play the great game of golf,” said Bart Rottier, executive director of the Alabama-NW Florida PGA Section.

The programming component of the JGAJunior will provide aspiring youth golfers an introduction to golf through “Gym to Course “and “First on Course” programs.

The Gym to Course program teaches the game of golf from certified PGA golf professionals during school hours in conjunction with the school’s physical education program. It’s specifically designed to be the very first exposure to golf for participating youth. Curriculum is focused on athletic movements that are key ingredients to the foundation of the golf swing.

During each session, students ages 6 and older will be exposed to a 1-week golf unit in their standardized physical education class.

First on Course will teach the fundamentals of the game and important principles of golf, such as etiquette, honesty, and integrity. First on Course curriculum develops athletes first and golfers second with a focus on long term athletic development.

The curriculum is made up of many skill-based activities that gives youth a fun and engaging learning environment, encouraging their interest in the principles behind golf.

Once a junior has a basic understanding of these principles, First on Course classes will focus on the basics of the game: grip, putting, and swing. With the development of these fundamental skills, juniors will graduate to participate in competition-based activities, such as PGA Jr. League.

Formerly the Alabama-NW Florida PGA Junior Tour, new multi-day competitions will be accessible on the “JGA Tour”, which is the competitive component of the JGA initiative. The Tour is designed specifically to remove barriers and reduce costs, while offering premier 36-hole tournaments at some of the finest facilities in Alabama and NW Florida.

In 2023, the “JGA Tour” will feature nine events open to girls and boys ages 6-18 who reside in Alabama or the portion of the Florida Panhandle west of Apalachicola who have an active GHIN Handicap Index through the Alabama Golf Association or Florida State Golf Association.

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Featured image courtesy of Alabama Golf Association

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