Fellow golfers are probably aware of the pressure of competing in golf tournaments whether its a Sunday afternoon club tournament or World Junior Golf Championship. Watching your player compete can be a nail-biting process, however, as a parent, it is essential to adopt a supportive attitude so that your junior does not pick up unnecessary stress from the side-lines if you are watching or from the bag if you are caddying. The more junior golf tournaments your child competes in, the better he/she will get at the game and the more they will enjoy competing in junior golf tournaments.
While there are many junior golf tournaments available to your child, look for age and skill appropriate competitions for your junior golfer. Also look closely at the different tour policies and guidelines as well as archived scores. You don't want to place your junior golfer in over his/her head where the competitors are playing at a significantly higher level, or in junior golf tournaments where they do not have any real competition. That is no fun for anyone.
As juniors get older and start getting a junior golf national ranking on National Junior Golf Scoreboard, the "strength of the field" becomes even more important. It is possible to win a tournament and actually move down in the rankings (i.e. get worse) if the strength of field is not good or the course is very short for the junior's age. Parents sometimes ask where their child can play golf if their school doesn't have a golf program. These tours below offer some great opportunities for kids that don't have a school program.
Rankings are computed based on proprietary formula that takes into account 3 primary criteria: Individual scoring (75% of the player's lowest round scoring differentials i.e. score - course rating); strength of field (i.e. how strong were his/her fellow competitors); and strength of finish. Most emphasis is given to the individual scoring criteria. Junior Golf Rankings by State can also be found on the Junior Golf Scoreboard site.
To be eligible to be ranked in The Junior Golf Scoreboard rankings a player must meet the following criteria.
U.S. Kids Golf is the largest, most competitive and well run junior tour in most parts of the USA. Their tournaments include Local Tours, Regional Tournaments, State Tournaments, Junior World Championship at Pinehurst, Teen World Champs and even Internationals junior golf tournaments in many locations including Europe, South Africa, Canada and Mexico. Some States such as Atlanta, Florida and Texas have Local Tours that operate almost year round (split into Spring, Summer and Fall Tours).
Their Local Tours are the perfect way to introduce tournament golf to your child with course lengths and individual age groups designed to make it fun to play and meet new friends. The Regional Championships are Multi-day invitational events that are typically held at premier destinations making them a great family destination and vacation! These events are typically scheduled around holidays and 3-day weekends.
The results of the 2017 US Kids World Championship can be found here.
The Hurricane Junior Golf Tour (HJGT) is the largest junior golf tour in the United States hosting more 2-day nationally ranked events than any other tour. In 2017 over 250 tournaments were held in 32 States. There are 4 boys age groups and 2 girls age groups at the appropriate ages to suite most juniors looking for a competitive tournament experience. HJGT recently announced new division ambassadors – Tiger Woods, Justin Timberlake, Justin Rose, Will Smith and Ernie Els – each representing a different division within the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour as it furthers its mission to grow the game of golf amongst juniors.
The 2018 Hurricane Junior Golf Tour schedule can be found here.
The Drive, Chip and Putt Competition is a very popular annual event hosted by the PGA. The overall winners play a competition in Augusta during Masters week. Qualifying competitions are hosted throughout the country. It is not a junior golf tournament in that juniors do not actually play a round of golf but rather are score based on 3 drives, 3 chips and 3 putts. This is a really fun way to get new golfers a taste of competition.
The 2019 qualifying schedule can be found here.
Founded in 1968, the IMG Junior World Championships attracts 1200 participants from 56 countries and 42 states. Qualifying tournaments are held around the country. This is also known as the Junior World Golf Championship San Diego.
2017 San Diego Junior World Golf Championship results are here.
2018 qualifying sites for 14-under divisions can be found here.
2018 qualifying sites for 15-18 divisions can be found here.
The Optimist Junior Golf Program is an exciting and unique junior golf program for ages 10-18. It hosts one of the largest and well-renowned junior golf tournaments in the world. In order to play in the Championships, golfers must qualify. Qualifying tournaments are held all around the world and the USA. It also hosts a number of regional and national events that are well run and well attended with a high level of play.
The Press Thornton Future Masters Golf Tournament is one of the most traditionally rich junior tournaments in the world. It has an impressive list of golfing greats who have competed in the tournament including past U.S. Open champions, Masters winners, PGA champions, British Open winner and many current PGA Tour Professionals.
It is not only a proving ground for golf's junior stars, but more importantly it is about the spirit of competition, friendships and sportsmanship on the course. It has been going for 68 years and it held annually in Dothan AL. Entrance is through an application process. Applications can be submitted January through April. The field is announced May 1 of each year.
Results of Future Masters tournaments in previous years can be found here.
AJGA, started in 1978, is the premier golf tour for older juniors (mostly high school golfers) who aspire to play top level golf. Most junior golfers in the USA who want to play high level college golf (e.g. D1 - DIII) will play a few AJGA events. AJGA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. It should be noted that there are many facets of this tour and the tournaments themselves are not easy to qualify for and gain entry to. Applications and entry to tournaments are based on a performance points system which is described in detail on the AJGA site.
The AJGA has 116+ tournaments annually at some very good courses. The AJGA places high emphasis on code of conduct and pace of play. AJGA tournaments, membership and programs are one of the best ways for junior golfers to get exposure to college coaches. The AJGA has tournaments focused on various levels including open tournaments, junior series, invitationals, international tournaments etc.
The AJGA tournaments are extremely well run with professional staff, volunteers and interns who do a great job. They typically have great sponsorship of the events, treat the kids really well and have nice tee gifts.
The tournament schedule is available on AJGA's official website.
FCWT, or Future Collegians World Tour, is a junior golf tour for golfers ages 9-19 the opportunity to showcase their talents. Tournaments are played in a number of weather-friendly states like Florida, California, Arizona, especially in the colder months. Tournaments are also played in New England, the Pacific Northwest, and the Midwest.
The schedule for the FCWT through May 2018 can be found here.
The International Junior Golf Academy (IJTA) organizes a series of prestigious golf tournaments around the world. Junior Golfers are made to face high-level competition and are pushed to showcase their talent. The IJGT has also partnered with Nick Faldo to bring the Faldo Series to the US. The Faldo series hosts 35 tournaments annually in 30 countries worldwide.
IJGT events take place on the leading golf courses around the world such as Pinehurst, HarbourTown Golf Links, Bethpage State Park and famous golf courses around the world. IJTA hosts about 60 events along with three international events.
The schedule for the IJGT including Faldo series through May 2018 can be found here.
The Future Champions Golf organizes a series of tournaments primarily in Southern California for beginners through advanced nationally ranked players.The FCG World Series Events has garnered significant attention from junior golfers all around the world. World Series events are open to all junior golfers worldwide and are highlighted by THE BIG 3 that consist of the FCG National Championship formerly known as the San Diego Junior Amateur (Winter Break / 550 Players), the FCG International Junior Championship (July, 630 Players from 32 Countries), and the growing FCG World Championship.
The Future Champions Golf schedule can be found here.
The Doral-Publix Junior Golf Classic is a premier tournament for junior golfers 6 years old to 18 years old. Around 700 players from all over the world compete every year in December and the field is generally very international. Contestants not only have to be great golfers but must demonstrate excellence in the classroom too. Entry is by application. The tournament is one of the largest for college recruiting and it benefits The First Tee of Miami.
The Donald Ross Junior Championship is played in December each year in the cradle of golf in the USA, Pinehurst NC. The event has been played annually since 1949, making 2019 the 69th annual event. There are three age groups for both boys and girls: 11 and under, 12-14, and 15-17.
The course yardages played are slightly shorter than other regional tournaments. A big attraction of this tournament is that the older boys and girls get to play Pinehurst No. 2, a US Open course. On the downside, Pinehurst is far enough north to be on the cold side in December. Entrance becomes available in late September each year. The beautiful Carolina Hotel is a fantastic place to stay when visiting Pinehurst and their breakfast buffet is second to none!
The Annual Scott Robertson Memorial Golf Tournament is a 3 day, 54-hole stroke play event. The event is played at the Roanoke Country Club in VA in May. There are certain entrance criteria and also a couple of days of qualifying available prior to the tournament.
The divisions are boys ages 14, boys 15-18, girls 14 and under and girls 15-18. A nice touch of this tournament is that the Boys and Girls 15-18 Champions have a tree planted in their honor on the golf course of Roanoke Country Club.
The Scott Robertson Memorial Golf Tournament is recognized by the AJGA, Golfweek, Junior Golf Scoreboard, and World Amateur Golf Ranking. Past winners include many current PGA and LPGA Tour players. Competitors in this tournament are generally from the South East and Eastern regions of the USA with good representation from VA, FL, NC, NJ, NY etc.
The Golfweek Junior Tour organizes competitive tournaments for junior golfers. These tournaments take place primarily in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. The organization's goal is to provide junior golfers national exposure and high visibility through media outlets in Golfweek. The current Golf Week Junior Golf tour schedule through May 2018 can be found here.
The IMG Junior Golf Tour provides an elite setting for junior golfers to compete and gain exposure to college golf, professional golf and national junior rankings. Tournaments are professionally-conducted and are for appropriate for intermediate to advanced juniors.
Junior golfers 10 - 18 years old are eligible to compete in four separate age divisions: Boys 15-18, Girls 15-18, Boys 10-14, and Girls 10-14. Tournaments are typically held on weekends during the academic year (September – May).
This tour also hosts the Junior World FL Challenge in December in Florida (not to be confused with the IMG World Championships in San Diego per above) where age divisions are slightly different (G11-14, G15-18, B11-13, B14-15, B16-18).
The IMG Golf Tour also hosts the Junior Honda Classic at PGA National in January of each year. The age divisions for the Junior Honda Classic are very large with 7 Boys and 7 Girls age groups ranging from 6 years old to 18 years old. The younger age groups play 9 holes whereas the older age groups play 18 holes. Boys 14-15, Boys 16-18 and Girls 16-18 get to play the spectacular Champions Course, home of the PGA Tour's Honda Classic and host to past Ryder Cups and PGA Championships. This is a highly competitive tournament with many top juniors participating.
The Southeastern Junior Golf Tour was founded on the principle of giving junior golfers a chance to play competitive golf, while building their resume for a potential collegiate golf career. It is open to players 12-19. SJGT events can now be found in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.
The SJGT 2018 schedule of tournaments can be found here.
USJGT offers competitive golf events for juniors ages 8-18 at affordable prices. Tournaments are held for the most part in TN and MS. For each qualifying event, the top five Boys High School and top three Girls High School players will be awarded AJGA stars.
The 2018 USJGT schedule of tournaments can be found here.
The Junior Golf Championships Series (JGC) presented by PGA Superstore, is a series of approx. 4 events annually held in Texas and one in Georgia. The tournaments qualify for AJGA Performance Based Entry (stars) and are Junior Golf Scoreboard ranked. The tournaments are highly competitive and you can usually find some of the top juniors in the country at these events. The schedule can be found here.
The Rocky Mountain Junior Golf Tour features tournaments for competitive players ages 6-19 years old across Arizona, Washington State, New Mexico and Colorado. Most of the tournaments award AJGA Performance Based Entry and are Junior Golf Scoreboard ranked.
The 2018 RMJGT schedule can be found here.
The United States Challenge Cup is a series of tournaments played primarily in the RI, MA, NY and CT areas. The also act as a qualifier for some of the large national junior golf tournaments. These tournaments are suitable for any level junior and for ages ranging from approx. 11 years old to 18 years old. The United States Challenge Cup schedule can be found here.
Most States in the USA have a State PGA Junior Tour that caters to competitive junior players 11 years old and up. The local PGA chapters are often able to get access to premier courses including courses that are host to PGA Tour events and include great courses such as East Lake in Atlanta GA, Sea Island GA, Copperhead (Innisbrook) FL, Trump National FL, various TPC courses etc. Most of the tournaments are 2 day events with certain ones being one day events. In addition, most are non-caddie tournaments and as such are a great experience for younger juniors transitioning out of caddie tournaments.
Below are links to some of the more active Junior PGA chapters:
Not to be confused with the State PGA Junior Tours, the PGA Jr. League's stated objective is to "bring family and friends together around fun, team golf experiences with expert coaching from PGA and LPGA Professionals". Teams are run by clubs that chose to participate. The objective is for kids new to golf to get to experience team golf in a fun environment. Play on teams with friends, wear numbered jerseys and compete in a two-person scramble format. The PGA Jr. League is open to both boys and girls, 13 and under, of all abilities.
The PGA Jr. league also has sectional, regional and a national championship for "All Star" teams that make it through. PGA Junior League sign ups begin in February so ask in your local pro shop about the possibility of joining one in your neighborhood.
The Junior Golf Association of Arizona (JGAA) conducts more than 100 programs and activities, including etiquette clinics, tournaments, and college prep seminars throughout Arizona.
Tournaments are conducted from January to December and they are open to juniors age 10U to 18 years old. Tournaments are very competitive with many of the State's top juniors playing in them. AJGA performance stars are up for grabs and the tournaments are all Junior Golf Scoreboard ranked.
The Junior Golf Association of Northern California (JGANC) is a non-profit organization that started in 1970. They have a variety of fun, competitive, affordable junior golf tournaments for boys and girls ages 7 to 18.
The JGANC hosts on over 60 junior golf tournaments a year in Northern California at a variety of public, semi-private and private courses, including some very nice venues such as Del Rio, Del Paso, Pasatiempo, Woodbridge, Los Altos Country Clubs, the Club at Crazy Horse Ranch and Quail Lodge Resort in Carmel.
The JGANC tournament schedule can be found here.
With over 40 tournaments and also travel teams for national/international events, the San Diego Junior Golf Association Tour (SDJGA) is one of the oldest and most comprehensive junior golf tours in the country. Alumni include Phil Mickelson and Charlie Hoffman. The local San Diego tour is open to competitive juniors age 6 to 18. The SDJGA tournament schedule can be found here.
The Junior Tour of Northern California is open to competitive juniors age 10 to 18. AJGA performance stars are awarded to the winners of all Boys and Girls Championship flights.
The 2018 Junior Tour of Northern California tournament schedule can be found here.
The Florida Junior Tour holds more high-quality, affordable competitions throughout Florida for boys and girls aged 13-18 years old. All of the FJT tournaments are nationally ranked and the winners from each tournament earn exemptions into the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA). The tour is run by the Florida State Golf Association (FSGA).
The 2018 Florida Junior Tour schedule of tournaments can be found here.
The North Florida Junior Golf Tour (NFJG) is a not-for-profit organization committed to providing opportunities to junior golfers (Boys and Girls) interested in gaining tournament experience and/or to compete for the love of the game. The organization is based in Jacksonville FL. They have a spring, summer and fall series (Oct-Aug) that comprise of one-day and multiple-day events, on some nice courses, including a few junior golf tournaments at TPC Sawgrass. They have approx. 35 tournaments a year.
In order to provide a good environment for junior players within their skill set the Tournament Series is divided into three levels. The levels are: Foundation TOUR, Rising TOUR and Elite TOUR. The yardage and difficulty are adjusted based on skill level and scoring. Foundation is appropriate for beginner golfers, rising for intermediate and Elite for advanced junior golfers.
The NFJG TOUR age divisions are Boys and Girls 7-12, Boys 10-12, Boys 13-15 (usually split into Rising and Elite), Boys 16-18 and Girls 13-18. Certain of the tournaments allow juniors to earn AJGA stars (PBE) and/or exemptions to the FJT (see above).
Cost of the tournaments in approx. $100 - $150. The 2018 NFGT schedule of tournaments can be found here.
Premier Junior Golf Tour (PJGT) is based in Florida and organizes competitive junior golf tournaments for young boys and girls ranging from the ages of 9 to 19. Competitors of all age divisions have the option of having a caddie.
The 2018 schedule for the Premier Junior Golf Tour tournaments can be found here.
Georgia Junior Golf tour players have access to several tournaments throughout the year, including spring tournaments, summer series tournaments, fall series tournaments, MAADA tour series tournaments, parent & junior series tournaments, and a skills challenge series.
Each tournament offers competition for many different divisions, giving junior golfers of all ages and skill levels the chance to test their abilities in a safe and positive environment. The schedule for the 2018 season of Georgia Junior Golf can be found here.
This is a developmental golf tour to expose junior golfers to competitive tournament play in a fun and beautiful environment at different State Parks around Georgia. AJGA performance based entry points are awarded in boys and girls 14-18 year divisions. Caddies are allowed for golfers 7-13 years old.
The Callaway and Meijer Junior Golf Tour operates in Michigan and offer large, competitive fields for boys and girls age 7 through 19. Multi-day tournaments are Junior Scoreboard ranked and most offer AJGA Performance Based entry. The Callaway Junior Tour (CJT) is for ages 15-19 who are accomplished players with previous tournament experience. Players over 15 years old can play the CJT or the Meijer Junior Players Tour (MJPT).
The 2018 schedule for the Callaway and Meijer Junior Golf Tour can be found here.
Two day events hosted by the Nebraska Junior Golf Tour are ranked by the Junior Golf Scoreboard.
The 2018 schedule for the Nebraska Junior Golf Tour can be found here.
The Tarheel Junior Golf Tour has the reputation of providing the most competitive junior golf tour in North Carolina. Players compete for individual tournament championships as well as for the season long Money and Scoring Leader competitions. All 36 hole events are nationally ranked and most meet AJGA requirements.
The 2018 schedule of tournaments for the Tarheel Junior Golf Tour can be found here.
The National Junior Golf Tour (NJGT) offers affordable and competitive junior golf tournaments throughout North and South Carolina. They host about 70 tournaments in a year and the 2 day events are Junior Scoreboard ranked.
The schedule can be found here.
The COGA Golf Tour runs a schedule of 36 hole events in Ohio for players age 13-19 years old. The tournaments are ranked by Junior Golf Scoreboard, Global Jr Rankings and event winners get exemptions into the Hudson Junior Invitational as well as AJGA performance stars.
The 2018 schedule for the COGA Tour can be found here.
The South Carolina Junior Golf Association Tour (SCJGA) offers different levels of playing opportunity. They have a One Day Series aimed at the junior golfer new to tournament play and a 12 Major Championship played over the whole year for the highly competitive advanced junior golfer.
The 2018 schedule for the SCJGA can be found here.
The Sneds Tour is Tennessee's premier junior golf tour and is very extensive and well run. It is run in partnership with Brandt Snedeker's foundation (hence the name), who hails from Tennessee. The tour is managed and promoted by the Tennessee Golf Foundation with assistance from the Tennessee PGA and Tennessee Golf Association. In summer 2018 they put on 135 events with over 6,000 rounds played. An objective of the tour is to provide junior golfers of all levels the opportunity to play competitive golf, in a positive and fun environment, at an affordable price.
The tour has various levels of golf tournaments based on age and skill level and does a great job of encouraging youth golfers. All in there are 8 different levels and various age groups within most levels, ranging from a 4-7 year old division, beginner par 3 division for 8-11, intermediate division and advanced/expert level divisions. Tournaments include local and regional tournaments culminating in season ending championships for each division level.
The Beltway Junior Golf Tour is the only junior golf tour that has skill based divisions as opposed to age based divisions. It can be played all over Texas for all skill levels.
The 2018 Beltway Junior Golf Tour schedule can be found here.
The Texas Junior Golf Tour (TJGT) offers over 70 tournaments per year, all of which offer AJGA Performance Based Entry as well as Golf Week ranking, Junior Golf Scoreboard ranking and top-level amateur exemption at selected tournaments. Participants come from all over the country as well as internationally to play this tour.
The 2018 schedule for TJGT tournaments can be found here.
The Legends Junior Tour (LGT) is part of the Texas Junior Golf Alliance - a joint venture between the Texas Golf Association, Northern and Southern Texas PGA and Houston Golf Association. Legends Junior Tour events give the opportunity to earn AJGA performance.
The 2018 schedule for the Legends Junior Tour can be found here.
It is important to make sure your child is tournament-ready before signing them up. Many local golf academies hold club tournaments and many States and cities have local golf tournaments where the competition is at the right level for a beginner or intermediate junior golfer. These are good options for a junior starting out in tournament play. Building confidence and learning the ropes in small, local tournaments sets the junior up for an easier transition to bigger junior tours and tournaments on a regional, national and international stage.
An interesting option that we saw recently is a junior golf tour that does not use age groups but rather uses scoring to determine which level a junior plays in. For example, if a junior can score in the 80's they move up to the next distance and the same when they can score in the 70's. This is greatly improves pace of play and keeps it fun for juniors.
Please let us know your favorite junior tours or request yours to be added.