Registration is now open for the Livingston County Junior Golf Tour, which starts June 18 and runs through the first week of August.
The program was started in 2006 by Hartland High School teacher and golf coach Nathan Oake and is designed to teach young players the skills of competitive golf and prepare them for higher levels of competition.
It's open to children ages 8-18.
“The truth is, my first career was as a golf professional at a country club and when you have certain communities that have country clubs, a lot of the kids grow up playing junior golf,” Oake said. “As a result their high school teams are good. They’re more rehearsed and ready to go."
Seeing an opportunity to help prepare younger golfers and teach the finer points of the game, Oake started the summer golf league as a “confidence builder” so by the time the kids reach high school they know what to expect and are familiar with the format of the game.
“For a very affordable price, they come out and they get basically the same thing,’ he said.
The kick-off tournament takes place June 18 at Faulkwood Shores in Howell and although the young players will be given some on-course instruction regarding tournament play and etiquette, Oake said it is not a how-to clinic and that children must come with a certain level of skill to compete and their own set of golf clubs.
Over the years, Oake says that several area high school coaches have told him that they've seen the benefits of this program.
“Before this was here, I would get kids who maybe played with Dad or Grandpa a little bit on the weekends and not understand the true format of competitive golf,” Oake said.
In the past, the junior golf league has had between 120-160 golfers and Oake said that families can pick and choose which tournament dates they want to register for. After a registration fee of $60, a 9-hole tournament, which includes golf, lunch and awards is $20 and the 18-hole tournament is $30.
Learning the game and gaining confidence may be some of the goals of the program, but according to Oake, fun is the main reason why many of the parents and kids say they keep coming back.
"Our tag line is, 'It's local, it's affordable and it's fun,'" he said.
Summer Golf Tour Dates include:
- June 18 at Faulkwood Shores
- June 19 at Tyrone Hills
- June 20 at Huron Hills
- June 21 at Leslie Park
- June 26 at Eagle Crest
- June 27 at Hartland Glen
- June 28 at Pineview
- July 9 at Chemung Hills
- July 10 at Lake Forest
- July 11 at Hunter's Ridge
- July 12 at Hudson Mills
- July 16 at Dunham Hills
- July 18 at Mystic Creek
- July 19 at Pierce Lake
- July 23 at Whispering Pines
- July 25 at The Majestic
- July 26 at Reddeman Farms
- July 30 at Ironwood
- July 31 Ryder Cup at Moose Ridge
- August 1 at Huron Meadows
- August 2 at University of Michigan