The golf industry may be in a state of some uncertainty, but the game at the junior level is stronger than ever, with dozens of tournaments every year across the country.
One of the leading golf destinations in the world, Myrtle Beach is an excellent place for youngsters to learn the game. Even though most early golf learning happens at home, a boy or girl who comes to Myrtle Beach on vacation with his or her family has ample opportunity to continue that learning process.
Perhaps the most important aspect of Myrtle Beach’s great embrace of junior golf is the sheer volume of courses that let kids play either for free or extremely low rates when they accompany Mom and/or Dad on the course. Your humble author began coming to the Grand Strand around the age of eight and played dozens of free rounds with his father over the course of his childhood. It was a great way to spend time with Dad—with whom I’ve played in the Father & Son Team Classic half a dozen times—and build a better love for the game and aptitude for playing it.
For those who live in Myrtle Beach, there are great junior golf initiatives in place as well. The PGA Junior League Golf concept has taken root across the country, including the Grand Strand. It applies a team-sport idea to golf for boys and girls aged 13 and under. These leagues consist of rosters of between 10 and 14 players, with eight players representing each team at each match. Coaches can substitute players in and out in between holes, which keeps everyone involved and further builds the team dynamic. With around 25 locales participating in 2012, the number will grow to more than 40 in 2013. The Myrtle Beach Junior Golf Foundation oversees a PGA Junior League team based out of River Oaks Plantation as well as organizing a series of more traditional individual summer tournaments. More than ever, junior golfers in and around the Grand Strand have a number of ways to enjoy the game.
For junior players who have likely benefited from both free rounds with parents at numerous Grand Strand golf courses and those whose golf abilities have been fostered through more formal programs, the Myrtle Beach area hosts two significant junior tournaments every year. The first is the Palmetto High School Golf Championship, hosted by North Myrtle Beach High School. It brings dozens of high school teams from across the country every year to a number of golf courses. The champion team for 2012 was Myers Park High School outside Charlotte, NC. The 2013 edition will be held March 28-30 at Barefoot Resort and Sea Trail Plantation.
Later on in the year, over Thanksgiving weekend, the George Holliday Junior Tournament comes to Myrtle Beach National Golf Club and welcomes boys and girls of all ages for one of the most prestigious and rapidly-growing junior golf tournaments in the Carolinas. Past participants include South Carolina standout golfers Lucas Glover, D.J. Trahan and Kristy McPherson.
With free and deeply-discounted rounds of golf, great junior programs and tournaments, Myrtle Beach is a great friend to the young golf enthusiast. And with the number of boys and girls that can be seen on its golf courses over the course of the year, it is easy to be optimistic about the game’s future.