Junior Golf Wins Team Championship and Teaches Young GolfersNov 22, 2021 02:22PM ● By Greg James
The Utah PGA junior golf series hosted the tiny tykes program at Fore Lakes Golf Course in Taylorsville to end the season. (photo courtesy of Utah PGA kids)
By Greg James | [email protected]
In Utah, junior golf is for athletes as young as four years old and includes more experienced players up to high school age students ready for competition.
“I would suggest a program like the ones this state has,” Todd Bingham said. His son Jordan graduated from Bingham High School this past year and is playing college golf at McCook Community College. He introduced Jordan to the game when he was six years old, but he did not have the programs that are now available for younger players.
US kids, a youth golf program, was established originally to help kids find equipment that fit correctly. In 2002 its first national tour event was held to encourage kids to learn a lifelong game and develop family memories.
The kids world championships are held every year in North Carolina. The event brings approximately 2,000 players from around the world to compete at all levels.
Team Utah won the junior league championship Oct. 11 in Scottsdale Arizona. In the teams debut event, Utah defeated team Connecticut 7.5 to 4.5 to win the title.
“It was just amazing,” Utah captain Tele Wightman told Fairways Media at the Scotsdale event. “There were such good teams, but we really believe in ourselves.”
The team included Wightman (PGA pro), coach Jeff Pederson, Jordan Ofahengaue (11, from Lehi), Ryder Huish (11, Highland), Austin Shelly (13, Salt Lake City), Jack Summerhays (13, Kaysville), Mo LeCheminant (13, Vineyard), Tyse Bowman (13, Draper), Jaxson Erickson (14, Riverton) and Will Pederson (14, Holladay). Their home course is Thanksgiving Point in Lehi.
“I wish they had the team stuff when my son was little. Utah winning (a championship) is just realy cool,” Bingham said.
Winning golf tournaments is only a small part of the PGA kids programs.
Glenmoor Golf Course offers an introduction golf class to educate new golfers in common golf knowledge and gameplay, and etiquette for players spectators, and supporters.
The First Tee program is required training for youth golfers to advance to the next levels of competitive play. Courses also offer group lessons of limited size. This encourages golfers to improve faster and compete against other golfers.
The Utah Junior Golf Association offers tournaments for ages 7-18.
Jordan Bingham was an All State Honrable mention in 2020 and is currently playing college golf at McCook Community College.
Jordan finished tied for ninth overall in the final fall tournament in October. He shot a six over 146 in the two-day tournament. McCook finished second overall to Eastern Wyoming College.
“He (Jordan) wanted a place where he could golf and study what he wanted,” Jordan’s father Todd said. “He is doing so well as a freshman golfer.”
Youth golf programs can be found at any local golf course. The players are taught and can compete at several places around the valley.