Golf is an individual sport. So, it’s not like Pop Warner or Little League where all we have to do is sign up our kids and there’s a schedule already in place managed by a handful of parent volunteers. Junior golf tournaments are important to building confidence, learning rules and growing the mental game. It is also very humbling. My girls learned very quickly that there’s competition and if they wanted to win, they’ll have to work hard at it. So, you’ll learn quickly if your child has enough of a competitive spirit to pursue the sport and at what level.
My girls are currently members of 3 different local tours. However, I do recommend if they are young and new to competitive golf, to get started at a tour that allows parent caddies so you can learn together. U.S. Kids Golf has local tours all over the country. They also offer shorter yardages based on the age divisions. Therefore, a 6 year old can still play a Par 5 but at a reasonable distance for their age. It’s a great confidence builder for children as they have a better opportunity to Par and Birdie holes.
For a list of various tours by state, click here.
Following is a brief list of tours I’ve had some experience with personally:
U.S. Kids Golf: I took my girls to play in our local U.S. Kids Golf Tour. Membership is per season. You must be a member to play. It’s a great organization for beginning golfers because caddies are allowed. So, as a parent, we may be the caddy for our children out on the golf course. This helped me learn the rules of golf alongside with my daughters for their first 2 seasons. They also host regional and a world tournament.
Southern California PGA Junior Tour: I believe many state PGA regions have a junior tour. In our experience, we see the highest level and number of competitive players locally at this tour. Annual membership is a requirement to play in this tour. No caddies are allowed but parents are able to spectate at most of the tournaments.
Future Champions Golf Tour: Future Champions Golf Tour hosts several tournaments that are open to members and non-members. They host some national and world tournaments such as the San Diego Jr. Amateur and the San Diego Jr. Masters. Many of the 2-day tournaments are also ranked on the National Junior Golf Score Board.
San Diego Junior Golf Association: We don’t live in San Diego County, but I like having my kids on this tour. Most age divisions play 18 hole tournaments and though my girls are in different age divisions, they are still able to play the same day which I am unable to do with some other tours. They also have more chances to qualify for the Callaway Junior World Golf Championship.