Where to start competing

There are many competitive opportunities available for players of all ages and levels. The difficulty is knowing which competitions to enter and where to get the information. The following guide is designed to help you find the right tournament opportunities for your child as they are getting involved in the sport.

Long-Term Player Development Stages of Development

Ages 7 and under: Active Start and FUNdamentals

Children should start to compete during sessions. They should be taught a general introduction to etiquette, a focus on safety issues and some basic rules of the game such as how to score. Understanding fair play is an important concept that coaches should emphasize.

At this age, the majority of competition should be skill-based and modeled on Future Links, driven by Acura Level 1 to 3 and Girls Club activities.

A good program will organize internal competitions in which the youngest, least experienced children can participate. As a parent, you may be asked to help out with organizing, safety, simple scoring and recording of fun skills tests. Ideally, children of this age should be attending a supervised coaching session, and competition may take place on par-3 courses and practice facilities.

Ages 8-12: Learning to Play

Children should be competing during sessions. They should continue to learn basic rules and be well-trained in etiquette.

At this age, the majority of competition should be skill-based, although players may start to play friendly internal competitions, such as golf ladders and intra-club matches. Competition may take place on executive-length courses.

A good program may enter a team in an inter-club match and provide opportunities for individual competition.

Ages 13 and over: Full Golf

Children should be competing during sessions. They should have full knowledge of how to score and a more advanced knowledge of the rules.

A club with a good junior program should have a regular competitive session for junior players. Look to take part in these as regularly as possible as they develop the golfer and also provide a social environment for the players to make new friends at the club.

Most clubs will also run annual junior tournaments, often these will be organized to cater for all standards of play. Good programs will play inter-club matches against other clubs and some may provide opportunities to play in men’s events. Competition will take place on full length golf courses but usually not from the championship tees.

Your local provincial golf zone and some private tours run a series of tournaments that are for players who are only just starting to get involved in competition. In these events, players will need a valid Golf Canada handicap and/or ranking to be eligible for the competition. Every province runs annual tournaments split into age groups. These are good tournaments to get involved in, as the standard is higher than club level and your child gets exposed to players he/she might not normally compete against.