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SportTop of golf now belongs to youth

18:05  12 january  2019
18:05  12 january  2019 Source:   ap.org

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Join the B-W Youth Golf Team for FREE! Joining BW Youth golf will get you added to our newsletter so that you can stay up to date on all the latest BW Golf events and programs. The main purpose of the youth golf program in the Baldwin-Woodville area is to introduce kids to the "game of a lifetime."

To date, we have expanded Youth on Course to 26 regions, subsidized more than 750,000 rounds of golf , hired more than 115 interns and 362 caddies, and award The First Tee introduces youth to the game, providing golf and life skills to better interact with adults and conduct themselves on the course.

Chris Thompson tried for 19 years to reach the highest level of golf, and he finally earned a PGA Tour card when he was 42. With every year he spent on mini-tours from Florida to Arizona, he couldn't help but notice that getting better only meant keeping up.

''It's a profession that not many good players get out of, but there's always good players getting into it,'' Thompson said.

Stewart Cink knows what he's talking about it.

Cink and Tiger Woods arrived on the PGA Tour at roughly the same time and were voted rookie of the year in consecutive seasons (1996 and 1997). Woods got an early start in the fall of 1996 and won two times in eight starts, so that became his rookie season. Cink's first full season was 1997.

''So really, we started playing fulltime the same year,'' he said. ''For the first three years, he was the only player younger than me. That put me at 23, 24, 25. There was no younger player besides Tiger Woods than me my first three years.

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Youth on Course provides youth with access to life-changing opportunities through golf . Providing youth with access to affordable golf is the core of what we do. Youth on Course members play golf at hundreds of participating courses for or less.

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''How many players on the tour now are 25 and under?'' Cink asked. ''Forty?''

He was close. There are 29 players with full status on tour who are 25 or younger. That includes Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, who already have won majors and reached No. 1 in the world. It includes Jon Rahm and Bryson DeChambeau and Xander Schauffele, all of whom are among the top 10 in the world ranking.

''They play a lot more, against better competition when they're younger now,'' Cink said. ''And they're just more seasoned when they come out here. There is no break-in period anymore like there used to be because you don't need to learn.''

When he started two decades ago, Cink said most players - Woods is an exception in almost every way - had to reinvent the wheel and learn to play the style of golf required on the PGA Tour.

''Now you just come out here, guns blazing,'' he said.

More are on the way.

Woods went straight from college to the PGA Tour. Playing on sponsor exemptions, he made enough money to secure a full card in just four tournaments, and then he won in Las Vegas in his fifth start as a pro. It took nine years before that happened again. Ryan Moore, the NCAA and U.S. Amateur champion, did it in 12 events in 2005, helped mightily by a runner-up finish in the Canadian Open.

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On top of that, young talent has flooded PGA Tour leaderboards, ushering in a new generation of players and their fans. Golf has always been viewed as a luxury activity that most parents, especially their kids, just can’t afford. Until now . Youth on Course is changing the game, and the idea is simple

The NCGA has been serving Northern California golfers since 1901. The Northern California Golf Association was formed in 1901 by five clubs – Menlo CC, Oakland GC ( now Claremont CC), Presidio GC, Linda Vista ( now San Jose CC), and San Francisco GC – with the sole purpose of participating in

Only three other players had done that since 1980, a short list that included Phil Mickelson, who won as an amateur.

Now?

Spieth didn't have a card on any tour in 2013 and effectively secured his card in six tournaments. Rahm got it done in three starts after he turned pro in 2016. What was the exception is not the norm, but it's getting there.

Scott Verplank, who won the 1985 Western Open when he was an amateur, watched the NCAA Championship in Stillwater, Oklahoma, last spring and he couldn't believe what he was seeing. And it wasn't just his alma mater, Oklahoma State, winning the title. Just about every team that reached the quarterfinals of match play had players who looked like they were ready for the PGA Tour.

Charles Howell III also went to Oklahoma State and keeps tabs on college golf, ''so I kind of knew what was coming.''

''All these guys were hitting the ball over 300 yards and they all putt great,'' he said. ''You get Justin Thomas come out and win a bunch. Jordan Spieth comes out and wins a bunch. So when they do that, then that's a veteran's job gone. That's another veteran's job gone. That's just how it works.''

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In golf , a caddie is a person who carries a player’s bag and clubs during a round of golf . Sometimes the caddie may give a golfer advice or moral support, but mainly a caddie is A designation in your IRA or other retirement plan may be a very cost-effective way of making a gift to Youth on Course.

Golf is a club-and-ball sport in which players use various clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a course in as few strokes as possible.

Not entirely.

Golf doesn't have a 53-man or 25-man roster like the NFL or Major League Baseball. And the beauty of golf is that no other sport can be so ageless. Remember, Mickelson won last year when he was 47 at a World Golf Championship.

Howell's point was that it's getting even more difficult to win as tour cards go to younger and younger players.

''When I first started on tour, the best players were the older players,'' Howell said.

Woods - again, the exception - was No. 1 and on his way to four straight majors in Howell's first full season in 2001. But the top 10 in the world was filled with players in their 30s - Mickelson and Vijay Singh, Ernie Els and Davis Love III, Colin Montgomerie and Hal Sutton.

''Now I've gotten older, it's shifted the other way,'' Howell said. ''And the best players seem to be the younger players. So you go look now at all the guys that we talk about, that we focus on - Jordan, McIlroy, Justin Thomas, etc. These are all the young guys. And they're the sport's best.''

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Top of golf now belongs to youth

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