Golf is a sport you can carry with you through life.
That was the message the Country Club of Culpeper was teaching county youth during its inaugural Jr. Open Golf Tournament July 29.
The tournament featured 29 golfers, ranging in age from 9 to 18 years old. It was open to youth from surrounding areas, schools and clubs and was organized to help promote the sport of golf.
“We are very pleased with the turnout this first year and we look forward to expanding the program in the following years,” said Kris Johnson, General Manager of the Club.
Jim McGrath, Director of Golf at the Country Club of Culpeper, said that golf has seen the sport change to cater to older players. By offering a youth tournament, the club was trying to show younger players that golf is something they can enjoy for the rest of their life.
The Country Club, originally opened in 1955 as a 9-hole course and expanded to an 18-hole course in 1993, is looking to use its appeal to attract younger players.
“I just think it’s a member friendly golf course,” McGrath said. “Some of the newer designs are built like they are catering toward having a professional event instead of having a golf membership. Unfortunately golf is not a young guy’s game right now. Golf, 15 years ago was so booming that young kids couldn’t get on a course.”
Now, the country club is utilizing programs like the youth tournament to attract younger players.
“The USGA, the PGA identified quickly there were barriers to play,” McGrath said. “The soccer leagues and baseball were far more efficient to set up leagues. Now you’re seeing PGA junior league and First Tee. We’re looking for First Tee here in Culpeper.”
Another appealing aspect for young players is that it gives them experience if they choose to play high school golf.
Both Culpeper County High School and Eastern View High School play their home matches at the Country Club of Culpeper.
“It takes an understanding membership,” McGrath said of allowing two high schools to play at the club. “The membership has done it from day one and they know it’s a community thing.”
McGrath touted the junior memberships, which cost $225 per year, as another way they are trying to attract youth.
“That’s a bargain for a Monday through Friday membership,” McGrath said.
16-18 age bracket:
1st place - Taylor Jenkins (middle)
2nd place - Justin Cook (right)
3rd place - Brent Lauritzen (left)
13-15 age bracket:
1st place - Evan Wildermuth (middle)
2nd place - Peter Scott (left)
3rd place - Robert Scott (right)
9-12 age bracket:
1st place - Gavin Cain (middle)
2nd place - Mathew Amos (left)
3rd place - Gavin Ritter (right)