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Now’s the time for youth golf

When it comes to the game of golf, everyone has to start somewhere.

For area parents who are trying to get their child involved in a lifelong sport, there’s no better time than the present.

The West Virginia Golf Association’s Callaway Junior Tour Rookie League kicks off at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Elizabeth at Mingo Bottom Golf Club.

Deadline to enter is by midnight this evening, which can be done through wvga.org and going to the tournaments menu.

“If someone wants in Friday morning we’ll let them in, but they’ll have to call us,” said Chris Slack, tournament director for the WVGA.

Entry fee is only $12 for the events, which also have scheduled Saturday dates on June 13 at Minibel Par 3, June 27 at Worthington, July 25 at Woodridge and Aug. 8 at the Golf Club of West Virginia.

Trying to get started playing golf often can be intimidating, but that’s why this is such a great idea.

Players who are completely or relatively new to the game can opt to play six holes in the single-A division.

According to the WVGA, the plan is for players in that division to have par 3s a max of 50 yards, par 4s a max of 125 yards and par 5s a max of 175 yards.

The double-A division is more for youth who might be new to the game, but have the endurance and length to play nine holes. The max yardages for that division are 100, 200 and 300.

In the triple-A division, which also will play nine holes, the yardage will vary depending on the course. However, that group will play from the women’s tees.

Basically, the triple-A was designed for youth golfers who aren’t quite ready to play a full 18-hole round of competitive golf.

Most of the time when it comes to the sport of golf, a youth picks up the game because of a parent, a grandparent or perhaps a friend who already has an interest.

Many moons ago when I was a lot younger my father used to golf whenever he could. It wasn’t until I got older, closer to a teenager, that he’d take me out with him for a round or to play in a scramble.

Myself, my brother and some friends used to mess around hitting golf balls in our bottom field near the Little Kanawha River.

We even dug holes throughout the two acre property and made our own little golf course so to speak.

When I first found out about the CJRT Rookie League it brought back some fond memories of my own youth. That included using the old wooden drivers and attempting to not shank anything into the river.

There are no separate divisions for boys and girls, but the lowest score of the day in each division will receive an award.

Friends and family are encouraged to follow the action at the courses.

Also, the WVGA will have members of its team available at each event for any novice golfers who might not know all the rules and etiquette of the game.

“We’re going to play them on the back nine where there isn’t so much trouble. We’ll probably give them a hot dog and a drink or chips or something,” said Billy Dotson, the general manager at Mingo Bottom.

“It’s not a money maker for us. We’re just trying to promote youth golf. Some of the parents have probably never seen Mingo Bottom and it’s our chance to show them what we got out there.”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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