JGA planning school tournament for 2015
Leighton Levy, Gleaner Writer
In response to heightened interest in the sport of golf among Jamaica's juniors, the Jamaica Golf Association (JGA) is planning a series of school tournaments for the first half of 2015.
President of the JGA, Peter Chin, made the announcement on Friday at the launch of the annual SANTA Golf Tournament at the Constant Spring Golf Club.
The SANTA tournament will be hosted at Constant Spring on December 6 and 7 and aims to raise $2.5 million, which will benefit a number of local charities, including the Boys' Town Development Centre, the Law Street Trade Training Centre, Wortley Home, Peace and Love in Society and the Jamaica Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (JSPCA).
Evidence of the increased interest from juniors, Chin said, was seen during the recent Alliance Buccaneers Golf Tournament at Caymanas Golf Club, when 40 of them turned out for the competition.
Sensitising More Children
The school tournaments planned are expected to increase interest in the sport even further by sensitising more high school children to golf and subsequently attracting them to play.
"The juniors are excited about it and we are hoping we can build on that," Chin told The Gleaner. "We are starting with four big ones in the first six months of the year and then we will have the team event like the LIME Cup, where we have multiple age groups in it, which will also be happening before June, so it's a very exciting time for the juniors and for the association."
The tournaments will not just be limited to Corporate Area schools, Chin said. Cinnamon Hill and Sandals are expected to be fielding teams and there will be two teams from Kingston.
Junior players are already beginning to have an impact locally, Chin revealed, explaining that a number of juniors who played at the recent Alliance Buccaneer tournament were showing the kind of talent that augurs well for the future.
Juniors Doing Well
"Two of the juniors in the girls, even though they are 14-years-old, play for Jamaica's senior team and then you have Justin Burrowes, who has been doing very well, he is 13," the JGA president said. "But from the younger group of ages six to nine; I don't know their names, but you can see some nice swings coming along."
Chin revealed that a lot of the increase in interest is attributable to Jason Lopez, who has started a golf school in Kingston. Lopez, he said, has had good contact with the schools and hence he has got a lot of people coming from the schools to learn golf.
He also praised the organisers of the SANTA Tournament for having a section aimed at children. The junior section, to be held on Saturday, December 6, will cater to all skill levels and allow a maximum participation of 60 golfers up to 17 years old.
Entry, inclusive of entertainment and food, is $6,000 for juniors.