Golf going strong among children in PGA Junior League in Clayton

Local News

CLAYTON, N.C. (WNCN) — At first glance, bystanders might think a baseball game was about to break out, but several children gathered in Clayton are actually taking part in a PGA Junior League 13U golf match.

The players have numbers on their backs because they are part of a team. That’s what makes this event unique to a sport known for its individualism.

“Yes, they really like it. I have a lot of baseball players who see the jerseys and numbers and they start playing golf,” said Pine Hollow Director of Golf Johnny Scott. “They really like it as far as the team format.”

Nine years ago Pine Hollow Golf Club was chosen as a pilot program for the PGA Junior League and it’s been going strong here ever since.

There are nearly 60 teams state-wide that play in the league. Teams of two compete in this unique format. Each team member tees off and then they’ll play the best of their two shots until the ball is holed. A true team game.

“It’s awesome,” gushed 9-year-old Charlotte Chianese. “If you hit a bad shot the other person might
hit a good shot, so you can play their shot. It’s the best.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has not slowed down the PGA Junior League, in fact, just the opposite. When other sports were shutting down, golf stayed strong.

The children can not wait for their weekly, Thursday matches.

“When we were in quarantine the only thing we had to do was school,” complained 10-year-old Luke
Yannoni. “The first few days we didn’t have school in quarantine I actually wanted to do school because I was so bored. It’s good to get the outside air.”

The kids say they enjoy competing in a sport they love.

“When you make birdies and pars you feel so happy,” said Chianese. “You won’t cry if you make a bad hole — you’ll make up for a good one.”

Having a teammate there to pick help, is what makes this program so special.

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