Golf

PGA Junior League Golf expanding on Strand and seeking more players

Maris Jennings makes her approach shot as Campbell McClain watches in a PGA Junior League Golf match at Wachesaw Plantation Club in July 2015. The fourth season of the team junior golf league is expected to begin in mid-June.
Maris Jennings makes her approach shot as Campbell McClain watches in a PGA Junior League Golf match at Wachesaw Plantation Club in July 2015. The fourth season of the team junior golf league is expected to begin in mid-June. jblackmon@thesunnews.com

PGA Junior League Golf is expanding in its fourth year in the Myrtle Beach market.

The local league for players up to 13 years old is expected to start in mid-June and could increase to eight teams, which would be double the number that participated last year.

The league should add at least two teams to increase to six.

PGA Junior League Golf is unique in that it is a team golf competition. Teams must have a minimum of eight players and many will have up to 12. Nine-hole matches are played in a two-player modified scramble format and each team member is guaranteed participation in each match.

“Even one more team is a great thing,” said Joe Carbonell, who coaches a team based at River Oaks Golf Club. “Little League Golf has been necessary for a long time. It’s getting better. I love the expansion this year.”

River Oaks has two teams with a combined 23 players. The private Wachesaw Plantation expects to field two teams this year, The Dunes Golf and Beach Club will again have a team, and teams have been created at the Grande Dunes Resort Course and through Classic Swing Golf School at Legends Resort.

Darren deMaille, owner and director of the Double-D Golf Academy at Harbour View Golf in Little River, hopes to field a team but is still in need of more players.

There aren’t many sports a kid can play where the coach is an actual professional in the sport. The goal for PGA Junior League Golf is make golf more accessible to kids who weren’t going to play the game. It’s a gentle way to come in and not have pressure to make the perfect swing. You go out with friends and have fun.

Chris Gaines of the Carolinas PGA

Registration is generally between $200 and $300 in the Myrtle Beach area, and that generally includes a team uniform, eight matches and up to eight lesson sessions.

The league’s minimum is $75 for four matches, but instructors in the Myrtle Beach area unilaterally want to do more than the minimum.

“There aren’t many sports a kid can play where the coach is an actual professional in the sport,” said Chris Gaines, the player development and foundation operations manager for PGA Reach Carolinas, the philanthropic arm of the Carolinas PGA. “The goal for PGA Junior League Golf is make golf more accessible to kids who weren’t going to play the game. It’s a gentle way to come in and not have pressure to make the perfect swing. You go out with friends and have fun.”

The PGA of America initiative began in 2011 with teams in four cities and in 2016 it featured approximately 2,900 teams and 36,000 kids.

Juniors interested in playing on a Harbour View team can contact deMaille at 203-895-1133 or tenmindoctor@aol.com.

Alan Blondin: 843-626-0284, @alanblondin

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