Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Another Reason Why the AJGA Might be the Best Run Golf Organization in the World


If you haven't had a chance to read Damon Hack's column on the AJGA, get with the program. Hack focused his column on the Thunderbird, an event in Arizona that hosts many of the best junior golfers in the world. It is one of the AJGA "majors," and is as important a win as something like the U.S. Amateur.

The column gives a pretty good illustration to those that don't know much about the American Junior Golf Association, the PGA Tour of junior golf.

See, if you are a decent junior golf, the AJGA are four letters that are more important than As, Bs, Cs or Ds on a report card. Just to get in events is nearly impossible, and once you do, you better make some waves. The towels from events are strung over any junior golfer's golf clubs, and hats are shirts are worn like prizes.

The events are always as polished as anything you'd see on the PGA Tour, and playing in a final round has the pressures of mini tour golfers trying to make a check.

I was lucky enough to get an invite back in my day to my first AJGA event in Abilene, Texas. I was one of the fortunate (read: lucky as hell) ones that played well enough in my first event to get some invites into other events throughout the rest of my high school career, and being able to show yourself on that type of stage is really the only way you'll ever be exposed to high school coaches.

This was probably my favorite line from the Hack piece, and it shows just what is going on with our young golfers these days.

"It's the number one thing in my life right now — I'd probably put it ahead of school," says Anthony Paolucci, 17, from Del Mar, Calif., who led after each of the first two rounds with scores of 66 and 69. (Editor's note: Paolucci closed with a 69 to win the event by three shots.) "After school, I go practice. I work out three or four times a week. I have a physical therapist for deep-tissue massaging, and I have a chiropractor. You don't want to have an injury when you're 22, as much as we practice these days. I have a whole team working."

Go over to Golf.com and read it. I think you'll enjoy hearing how intense junior golf really is these days.

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