It would be difficult to find two athletes who identify with today’s youth more than Steph Curry and Rickie Fowler. So it’s a huge positive for the future of golf that these megastars support two fast-growing nonprofit junior programs.
Fowler, the world’s fourth-ranked golfer, has youngsters mimicking his colorful clothes and style around the globe. Fowler is a spokesperson for PGA Junior League Golf, a team concept that is sweeping the nation.
Curry, the NBA’s reigning Most Valuable Player who plays for the Golden State Warriors, has helped promote Youth on Course for several years. Curry has captured the hearts of fans with his deep 3-pointers and deadly crossover dribbles, but he is not so well known for his ability to hit long drives and drain birdie putts.
The PGA Junior League, for boys and girls 13 years and younger, has been in Southern Nevada for two years and participation has increased dramatically. The program was launched nationally in 2011 in four markets with a few teams. As of 2015, more than 30,000 were playing in the league, now available in all states. More than 20 teams competed locally in 2015.
Local PGA of America professionals volunteer as coaches for teams from area courses. Like Little League baseball, season-ending playoffs and all-star teams are chosen at the end of the regular season.
“To me, PGA Junior League is special because it has finally given kids the opportunity to learn golf in a team atmosphere and really makes learning the game of golf fun,” said Nolan Halterman, the assistant general manager at Anthem Country Club, who also serves as Southern Nevada PGA Junior League Golf chairman.
For more information, go to pgajlg.com or call your local pro. Opening day ceremonies tee off May 21 at TPC Las Vegas, but the registration deadline is May 1. Interested pro captains can email Halterman at firstname.lastname@example.org by April 1 to enter a team.
The Youth on Course program is new to Southern Nevada and has partnered with the Southern Nevada Junior Golf Association. Local kids soon will have access to $5 or cheaper rounds at hundreds of courses in nine regions, including several in Southern Nevada. Details about which local courses will be available are being finalized. Information is available at YouthOnCourse.org or SouthernNevadaJuniorGolf.com.
Demo Days Extravaganza at Paiute
Golfers can attend free demo days this weekend at Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort and have a chance to try the latest equipment, win prizes, get free golf and save on purchases. Callaway, TaylorMade, Adams, Cobra, Cleveland, Mizuno, Footjoy and Titleist will be there Saturday and Ping on Sunday.
Deal of the Week
Seniors can play Las Vegas Golf Club for $19 with cart after 3 p.m. daily.
Stars on course
Tiger Jam, a major annual fundraiser for the Tiger Woods Foundation, hits the MGM and Shadow Creek on April 29 and 30. Jason Mraz headlines the concert.
From last week: The 20th anniversary celebration this fall will be for the public TPC Las Vegas, not the private TPC Summerlin.
The golf notebook appears every Thursday. Freelance writer Brian Hurlburt is a two-time author who has covered golf in Las Vegas for more than two decades. He can be reached at email@example.com or @LVGolfInsider.