Growing the Game: Under Armour Junior Tour


By Barbara Palmgren

There are several junior golf organizations that provide fun and competitive golf experiences for junior golfers. This month I’m highlighting the Under Armour Junior Golf Tour, under the directorship of Chris Henson. Chris has been at the helm of the local district for three years. Chris moved here from the San Diego area due to family ties here in the Panhandle, with a background in coaching and working in the golf industry. Chris told me that he began with 22 kids participating three years ago and their events now average over 75 players ages 8-18. There are both boy and girl divisions and family members can caddie for the younger age groups.

The National Championship for Under Armour will be held at Sandestin in February, 2024. Quite an honor to be chosen for this nationwide event!

This organization sets up golf in a unique way. Each season there is a six-event schedule. This fall there is a six-event schedule and players earn points for placing as winners. Those who place first, for example, are awarded 100 points. At the end of the fall schedule, the top six players in each category are those who earned the most points for all six events. The more events you play in, the better your chances to accumulate points for the top six spots. Participation, as well as performance, is rewarded as this organization does its part to encourage youth to play golf.

What I observed was a large group of young golfers having fun and encouraging each other. One young man joked that his friend won by a stroke, but he had won the last time. There were no discouraging words in this tournament, for sure. With 46 leagues in the U.S., this organization’s goal to be the biggest junior golf tour in the nation might be realized soon.

The weather was perfect and Emerald Bay was a gracious host. I want to congratulate Emerald Bay for donating its beautiful course to children when they could easily garner additional revenue from public play.

Congratulations to the following winners:

15-18 yr: 1st-Khai Roberts; 2nd-Sebastian Woodham 3rd-Mick Roeder.
12-14yr: 1st- Wiley Alford; 2nd-Kale Jeffery 3rd-Easton Settle
12-14 girls: 1st-Michele Burt; 2nd-Sofia Mathews 3rd- Mary Lee
9-11 boys: 1st- Person Hooper; 2nd- Henry Bellisomo 3rd- Grayson Fiorentino
9-11 girls: 1st-Emberly Settle; 2nd- Coplyn Kinsey 3rd- Olivia Haddock
6-8 boys: 1st Decker Fiorentino; 2nd- Dylan Bond 3rd-Michael O’Bannon
6-8 girls: 1st Taylor Wells; 2nd Sawyer Laxton 3rd-Maddie Luzansky