The pathway to and then through high-level amateur golf for juniors has been a confounding one for players and families in the past. Identifying events is one challenge. Travel and access are two other issues. Then there's the topic of money. It isn't cheap to compete at any level of amateur golf, but for juniors, with families in tow, airfare and hotels and other expenses grow exponentially.
Families can spend tens of thousands of dollars to help one child chase the dream of playing professional golf. Even just securing a college scholarship requires juniors to play in multiple events that can catch the attention of coaches. If a player lives in the "wrong" part of the country, far from any major golf events, it's even harder, and more expensive, to be discovered.
With all of these obstacles in mind, the United States Golf Association announced a National Player Development Program that will ensure the best and brightest players, starting at the age of 12 or 13, are identified and given access to what they need in order to compete.
The USGA said the program "will identify, train, develop, fund and support the nation’s most promising junior players – regardless of cultural, geographical or financial background.