How do I know which are the best events to enter?

There are many competitive opportunities available to junior golfers. Unlike some other sports, individual tournaments do not have official sanctioning grades. The level of ascendancy for a developing golfer would generally follow the player pathway as outlined in the LTPD:

  • Local Club and Inter-Club
  • Provincial Zone and Regional Tours
  • National Tours
  • Provincial and CN Future Links Championships
  • Golf Canada National Championships
  • Major International Golf Canada-Sanctioned Events
  • Contact your local golf club and/or provincial golf association for a list of events that fits into the player pathway.
Why is competing away from your home course so important?

Many coaches and players refer to early experiences of competition away as one of the most significant factors in achieving high levels of success at later stages.

Issues to consider when contemplating competing away:

  • Experiencing unfamiliar venues, environments, foods, grasses while performing well on the course is a vital skill and needs to be practiced
  • Competing away takes individuals outside of their comfort zone
  • Experiencing the standards of regional or international competition is a great motivator and drives young golfers to pursue training in the future
  • Mixing competitive play with education requirements
  • Necessary documentation or immunizations for travel to some locations
  • Scheduling enough rest and recuperation time
  • Consider the number and level in which young players should compete
  • Even a small amount of success, at home or away, is a great confidence builder
  • Beating some players and recognizing that the best players are not a million miles away can be a big boost
  • Good Canadian players tend to be big fish in a small pond. Overseas competition is an opportunity to compete without the worry of whom you might lose to and who might be watching.

Planning an effective competitive program is vital for your child's development as a golfer. Parents should to develop a solid level of communication and comfort with a qualified professional or coach to help them understand the different formats and locations of competitive events.

So how do you go about it? This page will give you a number of factors to consider.

How old is your child?

Junior golfers in Canada are defined as under age 19 as of the last day of the Canadian Junior Championships which is August 6, 2010 for boys and August 6, 2010 for girls. Some countries use January 1 as the cut-off date -- check the competition entry form for specific details.

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Education

The schedule you design should allow your child to get enough competitive experience while continuing his or her education. If he or she is a serious competitor aged between 13 and 17 years old, there will be an average of 13 to 15 weeks of school holidays a year and this will allow them to play enough tournaments. Many tournaments are scheduled on weekends but it is still important to build a good relationship with the school and the teachers in case time off school is required to travel. In those cases, teachers need to be informed so they are able to supply the necessary homework.

Rest

You should always make sure there is enough time for rest and recuperation within the schedule. It is not a good idea to play more than three to four weeks consecutively, although there may be times when the cost of travel and accommodation makes it favorable to do so.

Deciding on a schedule

After drawing up an ideal schedule, decide on a budget. Travel, particularly overseas, is expensive, and you should carefully study the tournament fact sheets to find out whether the event offers free accommodation and meals, airport pick-ups, or other benefits.

In junior competitions, prize money is not allowed. However, some events offer good hospitality terms to competitors (food and accommodation), making the main expense the cost of travel for the player and their coach or parent. The Rules of Amateur Status allow for golf-related expenses to be paid or subsidized by friends, family and other benefactors; however, there are strict rules that should be followed. Consult Golf Canada if you have any questions.

You should carefully plan your travel to ensure short layovers. Some events offer airport pickups, while others involve the daunting task of trekking cross-country to reach the venue.

You should research the tournament courses to determine the events that will best suit your needs and development stage. Once you have decided on the events, check the weather for that time of the year and the types of food common to the destination – you may need to pack the additional clothes or any necessary additional food or drink, depending on dietary requirements. You should also check whether you need an entry visa or any immunizations before traveling.