Junior golf was a big thing for me. It paved my road into the golf industry and made me the player I am today. Growing up in the Hamilton area I had lots of golf tournaments to play in and was very central to many. However, my father encouraged me to play local events and said if I couldn't win in my backyard, then there was no reason to play away from home. I first qualified for the Hamilton/Halton Junior Golf Tour in 1995 at the age of 15. The Junior Tour was very deep when I played and the first year I qualified I shot 81 and made the cut by one shot. I got exempt for the 1997 season by finishing in the top 15 in 1996. I finished 10th in 1997 but did not win an event. In 1998, I finally won. I shot 69 in the first event of the season and eventually finished 2nd in the overall standings....
The importance of the Hamilton/Halton Junior Golf Tour is that it's a great way for aspiring junior golfer's in the area to develop their skills and not break their parent's budget. With many options around like CJGA, AJGA, and GAO events its tough for many juniors to stay close to home. But, if you can't win consistently against the best players in your city, then there's no reason to go travel across the country to miss a cut. I gained confidence, and still do, by performing well at a lesser level. Golf is about timing and knowing when you have the hot streak to move up. If you're struggling, stay home and beat the competition here. I'm 32 and just starting to figure out what it takes to win at a provincial level as a professional. Again, it's very important that we support the local tours. The Hamilton/Halton Junior Golf Tour is a non-profit tour and the people running it are there to see their players succeed.
Back of the Range
Jim will be allowing readers into his world as he writes about golf through his heart and experiences as a professional golfer, instructor, father, and a fan.
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