PARKS DEPARTMENT YOUTH GOLF TOURS
One of the many worthwhile programs conducted by The Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department is The Fort Wayne Junior Golf and Fort Wayne Pee Wee Tours.
A program that started 22 years ago as a 3-day event for Junior Golf and a 1-day event for Pee Wee during The Three Rivers Festival has grown into a summer program June 4th through August 2nd this year. The summer schedule has 10 events for Junior Golfers age 12-18 and 7 events for Pee Wees ages 3-11. That's right Pee Wees start playing golf at 3 years of age.
The events are very well run and assisted by the following staff people: Dave Scutter, Rick Hemsoth, Joe Schaller, Kelly Wood, Lindsey Light, and Becky Reimink. Julie Rodgers helps during the Pee Wee events. Strict rules prevail during each episode.
The Junior Golf Tour boys 12-13, girls 12-13 usually play 9 holes. The boys 14-15, girls 14-18 and boys 16-18 play 18 holes. The Pee Wee golfers have a reduced schedule; boys and girls 3-5 play 3 holes, boys 6-7 and 8-9 and girls 6-7 and 8-9 play 6 holes with boys and girls 10-11 playing 9 holes.
Each event has sponsors. The major ones for the Juniors are The Mad Anthonys, Pepsi, and CWC (Commercial Warehouse and Cartage Inc.) with the Pee Wee major sponsor being Powerade (Coke) and The Fort Wayne Shriners. Some minor sponsors for the Juniors are: Pizza Hut, Mens Golf Association, Scotts Foods, Powerade, Target Golf Center, and Bobicks.
A schedule is mailed every year listing event dates and entry deadlines. Golfers need not enter all events and the program makes it possible for out of town kids to compete.
Events are played at the following courses: Brookwood, Canterbury, Chestnut Hills, Colonial Oaks, Deer Track, Elks, Fairview, Foster, Lakeside, McMillen, and Shoaff.
Sponsors contributions keep green fees low for all participants, purchase trophies and plaques and Pepsi and Powerade are good for free drinks for the kids.
The July 8th event at Chestnut Hills (Junior Golfers) drew 220 golfers. The July 11th event at Fairview had 139 registered of which 30 were girls. The Pee Wee events drew about 125.
An added plus at the Pee Wee matches have a Fort Wayne Shriner actually making the rounds and keeping score for each 3-5 Pee Wee three-somes. Shriners have been involved in this program for 3 years. Art Nickerson, 92 years old, is one that takes a very active part. About 12-15 Shriners are involved in each 3-5 year old Pee Wee event.
Many of the events start as early as 7:00AM.
One of the Junior Golfers is Patrick Kelley who made The Indiana State High School Golf Tournament this year as a freshman from Blackhawk Christian School. Marc Gillig has accomplished what many golfers never achieve——a hole-in-one!
This is a very impressive program with parents also very much involved. Sponsors, Shriners, staff people and parents keep up the good work in this very worthwhile program.