PDT Sports Writer
The Tri-State Junior Golf Tour will be making its fifth stop of the eight-tournament season tomorrow at Shawnee Golf Course.
Normally, the tour allows kids ages 10-18 to play in the events. That will temporarily change during this weekend’s event as participants as young as six years old will be able to compete.
“It’s very important for younger kids to get involved,” TSJGT co-director Jason Van Deusen said. “I’ve got a two-and-a-half year old that I’m already starting to get her going.
“It’s very important to get younger kids involved so they can continue to play and grow as they get older. It’s something they can play their entire lives.”
Since its inception in 1982, the TSJGT has allowed youth golfers compete in high school-style tournaments during the summer. One of the program’s products is Van Deusen, who played on the tour from 1998-2001 and was on the Clay and Shawnee State golf teams.
Van Deusen and his father, Joe, operate the tour. They took over tour responsibilities from former director Tyson Phillips, who is the current Portsmouth girls basketball coach and Shawnee Golf Course club professional.
“(Tyson) brought it up that their course is set up for the younger age groups with the US Kids Golf tee boxes,” Van Deusen said. “So we decided, on this coming Thursday, to bring in the younger kids and see how it turns out.”
Along with the pairings for ages 10-12, 13-15 and 16-18, the tour has also set up divisions for ages six-and-under, seven-to-eight and finally nine-year-olds. If the event deems to be a success, the goal will be to hold a similar event for the July 27 season finale at Guyan Golf and Country Club in Huntington, West Virginia.
No golfing instruction is given during the tournament but lessons may be given outside of the tournament by people such as Phillips or Van Deusen. The only thing Van Deusen says he or anyone affiliated with the tour can do during an event is give instruction on golf etiquette.
Registration for the tournament ends this afternoon at 5 p.m. and may be done at tsjgt.com. Tee times are slated to start at 8 a.m. and participants will be notified via email of when they start.
Cody Leist can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 242, or email@example.com.