Junior Skills Challenge

Junior Skills Challenge National Event crowns six champions at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club

Photo Bernard Brault, Golf Canada Vancouver, BC CPKC Women’s Open Sunday , August 20, 2023 Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club Junior Skills Challenge

The 14th edition of the Junior Skills Challenge National Event wrapped up today in Vancouver after 24 of the top Canadian junior golfers showcased their skills in one of Golf Canada’s signature junior events. The event took place at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club which will also play host to the CPKC Women’s Open from August 24-27th.

The National Event culminates a year-long program consisting of over 100 qualifying events across Canada and 2,000 participants. 

In partnership with the PGA of Canada and Cobra-Puma Golf, participants went head-to-head in putting, chipping, and driving competitions:

Putting: each competitor received one putt from each distance of 5, 10, and 20 feet with points awarded for holing the putt and proximity to the hole.

Chipping: each competitor received three shots for chipping with points awarded on distance of the chip from the target.

Driving: each competitor received three drives with points awarded for distance and aim of the drive.  

The winners for each division of the Junior Skills Challenge National Event received a brand-new driver courtesy of Cobra-Puma Golf.

Below are the winners in each of the age groups: 

Photo Bernard Brault, Golf Canada Vancouver, BC, August 20, 2023 Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club Junior Skills Challenge

Boys 8 and under:  

Four participants competed including Albert Cui, Eliott Forest, Clifton McLeod, and Waris Wirring.

McLeod of Calgary, AB captured the title with a score of 165 (55 points from driving, 20 points from chipping, and 90 points from putting).

Girls 8 and under: 

Four participants competed including Sophie Dai, Ophelie Duguay, Eisla Kim, and Brooke Sundquist.

Dai of Calgary, AB dominated in her division, earning first place with a final score of 140 (45 points from driving, 25 points from chipping, and 70 points from putting).

Boys 9 to 11: 

Competing in the division included Patrik Geary, Damian Gonzalez, Carter Sam, and Jagger Shi.  

It was a close competition, but Gonzalez of Oakville, ON pulled away with a final score of 150 (50 points from driving, 20 points from chipping, 70 points from putting).

Girls 9 to 11: 

Four participants competed including Sadie Blazeiko, Jordyn Butler, Chloe Lam, and Avery McGuire.

Blazeiko of Winnipeg, MB took home the title with a score of 175 (60 points from driving, 25 points from chipping, 80 points from putting).

Boys 12 to 14: 

Carson Chapman, Cedrick Hamelin, Siddharth Kaja, and Clayton Michel participated.

Kaja of Mississauga, ON captured the title with a final score of 215, with the most impressive chipping scores of the day (70 points from driving, 55 points from chipping, 90 points from putting).

Girls 12 to 14: 

Aliyah Hull, Tatum Lohnes, Mila Snook, and Hannah Thomas participated.

Hull of Chestermere, AB was a stand-out competitor with an impressive final score of 215, with the best driving score of the day across all age groups in both male and female divisions (100 points from driving, 45 points from chipping, and 70 points from putting).

For more information on the Junior Skills Challenge National Event, click here.

First Tee Junior Skills Challenge youth on course

Junior golf for all Canadians

Photo Bernard Brault, Golf Canada Toronto, Ontario: Tuesday, June 6th, 2023 RBC CANADIAN OPEN Oakdale Golf and Country Club Hall of fame

First Tee and Youth on Course work collaboratively to provide a welcoming and accessible junior golf pathway.

Golf participation in Canada is currently at multiyear highs and as the national sport organization, Golf Canada is focused on the long-term future and overall health of our sport. For example, as golf participation thrives today, what long-term investment must be made to ensure the sport will be similarly healthy a generation from now?

Long-term trends indicate that the Canadian population will become increasingly multicultural and multidimensionally diverse than today. To sustain and grow Canadian golf participation going forward, a larger share of golfers will reflect racialized and socioeconomic backgrounds that have been historically underrepresented in our sport.

Many golf courses operate highly successful and impactful junior programs across Canada. As a complement to these fundamentally important locally driven efforts, Golf Canada, along with corporate and philanthropic supporters, are making long-term investments that specifically seek to provide affordable and welcoming golf access to Canadian youth from a diversity of backgrounds.

The first primary investment is in First Tee – an internationally renowned program with over 25 years of operation in the United States. First Tee offers junior golf and youth development experiences in three settings: golf facilities, community centres, and schools. The First Tee program provides equipment, turnkey lesson plans, and in-depth instructor training. First Tee is primarily suited for publicly accessible facilities and municipal golf courses – or private courses who welcome non-member juniors for First Tee programming that takes place on driving ranges and putting greens. First Tee has an extensive track record in the United States of welcoming equity-deserving youth into our sport.

First Tee is funded by generous individuals and corporate donors. First Tee programming is offered for free at all schools and community centres. Most participating golf courses are able to offer programming for free, and need-based financial assistance is available to all participants so that cost is never a barrier.

Golf Canada initially partnered with First Tee in 2020 and the program will be operational in every province by the end of 2023, charting a course for community-by-community growth that will be executed over several years.

The second important investment into the sport is Youth on Course – a program that allows junior golfers to play golf on a participating course for a green fee of $5 or less. Junior golfers who are introduced to the sport through First Tee can thus transition onto the golf course at an affordable price.

Youth on Course started in the United States and there are nearly 2,000 participating golf courses across North America. From a Canadian perspective, the program began in Alberta and Ontario in 2019 and expanded to British Columbia and Atlantic Canada this year. Partner courses are provided with a modest subsidy in addition to the $5 green fee collected from the junior golfer. Youth on Course is funded by individual and corporate donors who believe in increasing golf course access for juniors. Host courses also make an important contribution by prioritizing access for juniors, even while incurring an opportunity cost.

What do we believe is the blueprint for supporting an accessible junior golf pathway for Canadian youth from all backgrounds? Engage youth from equity deserving communities at their local schools and community centres through First Tee, transition participants to nearby First Tee golf courses to further their development in golf and finally, provide a low-cost on-course entry point through Youth on Course.

Beyond large-scale exposure to the sport, a segment of these participants will advance on to engage in competitive golf through the Junior Skills Challenge or the multitude of local, provincial, and national junior tournaments.

The impact of junior golf programs always occurs locally, and is often supported by the local club, provincial golf associations, and the efforts of PGA of Canada professionals. Whether at the grassroots level or competitively, junior golf is driven by the energy and professionalism of local coaches and volunteers. Through First Tee and Youth on Course, Golf Canada seeks to complement existing successful junior programs and provide local leaders with additional programming that is designed for the long-term future of Canadian golf.

The long-term result will be a sport that continues to be the most played of any sport in the country, and one more closely aligned with the diversity strengths of multi-cultural Canada.

Junior Skills Challenge

Host a Junior Skills Challenge local qualifying event today

Junior Skills Challenge is an online and interactive program that focuses on developing the key golf skills of putting, chipping, and driving. The online leaderboard allows instructors to upload players’ scores so they can track their improvement. Using the data, players are ranked nationally by age group, and by scores on the National Leaderboard. Top competitors nationally are invited to compete in the annual Junior Skills Challenge National Event.

Juniors from across the country are currently competing at local qualifying events to earn invitations to the annual Junior Skills Challenge National Event.
It’s not too late to host a local qualifying event at your facility! The deadline to host an event and enter scores for the 2023 National Leaderboard is Tuesday, July 25th.

Register at no cost and schedule your JSC event