WPGA Junior Foundation

Registration for the Wisconsin PGA Junior Tour begins Wednesday at 6 p.m. at www.wisconsin.pga.com

Advanced Schedule

Recommendation: Choose two (2) events from Pool 1; the WPGA Junior Championship and three (3) events from Pool 2; one (1) event from Pool 3 or 4 (depending on gender); and as many as four (4) events from Pool 5 to complete schedule.


Date(s) Tournament Site The Skinny
2 June 10-11 Lake Arrowhead Invitational Lake Arrowhead GC-Nekoosa Invitation-only based on 2018 performance; 36 holes on two courses
1 June 12-13* Wisconsin Women's State Open Stevens Point CC A must for any college-bound girl; makes all other events seem easier
5 June 18 U.S. Junior Girls/Boys Qualifying Mascoutin GC-Berlin Great year to try; U.S. Junior Girls is at SentryWorld in Stevens Point in July
2 June 19-20 WPGA Junior Championship Brown Deer & Dretzka Park GCs-Milwaukee Grand-daddy of all Wisconsin junior events; anyone who's anyone is there
2 June 23-24 WPGA Players Tour Event #1 Blackwolf Run-Kohler One of several events designed for golfers with ample Junior Tour experience
2 July 1-2 Wisconsin Dells Junior Championship Wild Rock GC & Trappers Turn GC-Wis. Dells A new event at two great courses that could grow into an AJGA-level event
2 July 7-8 GCAOW College Showcase Whistling Straits / Irish Course-Haven Chance to have skills evaluated & compete in front of college coaches
2 July 10-11 WPGA Players Tour Event #2 GCs of Lawsonia-Green Lake Another chance to play two fabulous layouts at 36-hole facility
3 July 15-16* Sherri Steinhauer Invitational Blackhawk CC-Madison & Pleasant View GC-Middleton Girls-only event on two tough courses; honors Wisconsin legend
1 July 15-18** Wisconsin Men's State Amateur GCs of Lawsonia-Green Lake Two high schoolers finished in top five; toughest test of summer
1 July 21-22* Wisconsin Women's State Amateur La Crosse CC-Onalaska Opportunity to play 54 holes over two days in championship flight
4 July 22-26** Wisconsin Junior Masters Johnson Park GC-Racine Match-play event rich in tradition with competition in two age groups
2 July 28-29 Morgan Stanley Junior Tour Championship Washington County GC-Hartford Season-ending invitation-only event based on season points
1 July 29-30* Badger Mutual Insurance Women's Amateur Brown Deer Park GC-Milwaukee Exceptional event that raises funds to benefit other women & children in Milwaukee area
3 Aug. 6-7* Wisconsin Junior Girls Match Play Hartford GC Chance to end the summer in a format that promotes aggressive shot-making
4 Aug. 6-8** WSGA Junior Boys Championship Rolling Meadows GC-Fond du Lac Junior boys version of Wisconsin State Amateur with cut after 36 holes
2 Aug. 9 WPGA Players Tour Event #3 Dretzka Park GC-Milwaukee Dress rehearsal for NCAA Div. 1-bound golfers with 36 holes in one day
1 Aug. 19-21** Wisconsin Men's State Open Geneva National GC-Lake Geneva Field expands to 204 players in 2019 & will be played over two courses
5 Ongoing WPGA Junior Tour events Multiple sites Fill in gaps on schedule with one-day events
* = Girls only
** = Boys only

Intermediate schedule

Recommendation: Choose the WPGA Junior Championship and one (1) other event (if eligible) from Pool 1; two (2) events from Pool 2 or 3 (depending on gender); as many as six (6) events from Pool 4 to complete schedule.


Date(s) Tournament Site The Skinny
1 June 10-11 Lake Arrowhead Invitational Lake Arrowhead GC-Nekoosa Invitation-only based on 2018 performance; 36 holes on two courses
4 June 18 U.S. Junior Girls/Boys Qualifying Mascoutin GC-Berlin Great year to try; U.S. Junior Girls is at SentryWorld in Stevens Point in July
1 June 19-20 WPGA Junior Championship Brown Deer & Dretzka Park GCs-Milwaukee Grand-daddy of all Wisconsin junior events; anyone who's anyone is there
1 June 23-24 WPGA Players Tour Event #1 Blackwolf Run-Kohler One of several events designed for golfers with ample Junior Tour experience
1 July 1-2 Wisconsin Dells Junior Championship Wild Rock GC & Trappers Turn GC-Wis. Dells A new event at two great courses that could grow into an AJGA-level event
1 July 7-8 GCAOW College Showcase Whistling Straits / Irish Course-Haven Chance to have skills evaluated & compete in front of college coaches
1 July 10-11 WPGA Players Tour Event #2 GCs of Lawsonia-Green Lake Another chance to play two fabulous layouts at 36-hole facility
2 July 15-16* Sherri Steinhauer Invitational Blackhawk CC-Madison & Pleasant View GC-Middleton Girls-only event on two tough courses; honors Wisconsin legend
3 July 22-26** Wisconsin Junior Masters Johnson Park GC-Racine Match-play event rich in tradition with competition in two age groups
1 July 28-29 Morgan Stanley Junior Tour Championship Washington County GC-Hartford Season-ending invitation-only event based on season points
2 Aug. 6-7* Wisconsin Junior Girls Match Play Hartford GC Chance to end the summer in a format that promotes aggressive shot-making
3 Aug. 6-8** WSGA Junior Boys Championship Rolling Meadows GC-Fond du Lac Junior boys version of Wisconsin State Amateur with cut after 36 holes
1 Aug. 9 WPGA Players Tour Event #3 Dretzka Park GC-Milwaukee Dress rehearsal for NCAA Div. 1-bound golfers with 36 holes in one day
4 Ongoing WPGA Junior Tour events Multiple sites Fill in gaps on schedule with one-day events
* = Girls only
** = Boys only

Beginner Schedule

Recommendation: Choose the WPGA Junior Championship (or, for younger golfers, the 12-and-under competition later in the summer); as many as nine (9) events from Pools 2, 3 and 4; fill in with events from Pool 5 as your golfer becomes more comfortable and accomplished in competitive golf to complete schedule.


Date(s) Tournament Site The Skinny
1 June 19-20 WPGA Junior Championship Brown Deer & Dretzka Park GCs-Milwaukee Grand-daddy of all Wisconsin junior events; anyone who's anyone is there
4 July 15-16 Janesville City Junior Championship Janesville Riverside & Blackhawk GCs Great deal at $25 for two days of golf; wonderful intro to competitive golf
3 July 22-26** Wisconsin Junior Masters Johnson Park GC-Racine Match-play event rich in tradition with competition in two age groups
4 July 24 State Line Area Junior Championship Krueger-Haskell GC-Beloit Another great deal at $5 for 18 holes; low-key intro to competitive golf
1 Aug. 1 Wisconsin 12-and-under Championship Kettle Moraine GC-Dousman Introductory competition to WPGA Junior Championship
2 Aug. 6-7* Wisconsin Junior Girls Match Play Hartford GC Chance to end the summer in a format that promotes aggressive shot-making
4 Ongoing WPGA Futures Tour events Multiple sites Series of 15 nine-hole events designed to introduce juniors to competitive golf
5 Ongoing WPGA Junior Tour events Multiple sites Fill in gaps on schedule with one-day events
4/5 Ongoing Western Wisconsin Golf, CVGA, TRGA, others Multiple sites Regional opportunities to gain a start in competitive golf close to home
* = Girls only
** = Boys only

This might be the most exciting day of the year in Wisconsin junior golf.

At exactly 6 p.m., the online registration portal for events on the Wisconsin PGA Futures, Junior and Players Tour will go live and junior golfers throughout the state will scramble to register for their favorite stops.

Back in the day, one of us might have sat poised at his computer, his daughter's registration information at his side with the mouse of his computer hovering over the link to registration for the Junior Tour event on the Irish Course at Whistling Straits in Haven. Yes, it's parents like me who turned registration for that event into a lottery drawing for those who request a spot in the field during the first 24 hours that registration is open.

And there are probably still others like me who can't wait for the clock to strike 6 p.m. But you get the point.

For those of us from a different junior golf era, there are so many incredible opportunities available to young golfers these days that they make the options of my youth — the W103 Junior at The Ridges in Wisconsin Rapids, a nine-hole event at Rhinelander Country Club and an 18-hole event at Bass Lake Country Club in Antigo — seem like somebody was slacking. There is no slacking in 2019.

The opening of WPGA Junior registration Wednesday is simply a reminder of how good junior golfers have it. Just click on this link and take a look at the courses on the 2019 schedule.

Whistling Straits. Blackwolf Run. Lawsonia. The Bull at Pinehurst Farms. Lake Arrowhead. Trappers Turn. Wild Rock. Brown Deer Park. Thornberry Creek at Oneida. Timber Ridge. And a collection of private clubs throughout the state that would make golfer of any age drool.

Sand Valley Golf Resort near Nekoosa will even host the first WPGA Par 3 Junior Championship this summer, to be played July 24 on The Sandbox course and be open to junior golfers age 14 through 18. SentryWorld isn't listed, but it is hosting the U.S. Junior Girls' Championship this summer and next year will resuming its one-day girls event on the WPGA Junior calendar.

While the Wisconsin PGA, the administrative body for Wisconsin's club professionals, offers a wonderful assortment of tournament options on seven different platforms throughout the state, other regional entities help fill in the gaps. Western Wisconsin Golf, the Chippewa Valley Golf Association in the Eau Claire area and the Three Rivers Golf Association in the La Crosse area are just a few organizations with tournaments for junior golfers that minimize travel and maximize the opportunities to begin the journey through competitive golf.

The purpose of this column is to offer one person's opinion on how to go about filling the squares on the summer golf calendar, but it's important to note that there is no right or wrong way to complete this exercise. 

After having completed the journey with three of my own kids, I would offer three general points off the top:

  • Allow enough time for your child to work on his or her game. There is much to be gained from a steady diet of competitive golf, but there is even more to be gained by polishing skills and working out the rough spots — especially in the short game — between tournaments. Ten seems like a perfect number for many things and — for junior golfers trying to juggle family vacations, summer jobs and obligations in other sports as the summer months fly by — that's the target number I tried to hit in the charts at the right. 
  • Don't be afraid to schedule tough. I went into the junior golf experience a firm believer that quantity would be a critical component because — unlike soccer, basketball and baseball/softball — competitive golf opportunities were not as abundant to my kids until they were grizzled veterans in their other activities. I came out of the journey with a better understanding of the importance of quality experiences in scheduling events. There is no shame in challenging a junior golfer at least once a summer with an event that will be far more uncomfortable than all the rest (in school, they call that a test).
  • Keep it fun for them. There is a great temptation to let ulterior motives dictate the rigor in the tournament scheduling process. College coaches want your kids to play here. High school coaches want them to play there. None of that matters if they don't want to play anywhere so find a way to keep it fun for them. A fun junior golf career is usually the best recipe for a long junior golf career.

So where does a parent begin this tournament golf process? The Wisconsin PGA has created just the outlet.

Its Futures Tour series, which this summer will grow to 15 events, offers the opportunity for beginning golfers to play in nine-hole events and learn the intricacies of competitive golf. From exchanging scorecards on the first tee to signing them after the round, these events are designed to make young golfers comfortable with the idea of counting every shot and competing against others who might just become lifelong friends.

Networking with other junior golf parents also leads to other opportunities. I have noted two of them — at Janesville Riverside and Krueger-Haskell golf courses — because they offer 18-hole options, are great values and a low-key introduction to competitive golf.

As junior golfers grow into the game and, most importantly, their swing, the transition to the WPGA Junior Tour is inevitable.

This year, there are 43 18-hole events on the Junior Tour scheduled between June 7 and Aug. 15. They represent the focus of my intermediate level of scheduling and play a critical role in the development of junior golfers.

Newcomers to the Junior Tour ranks should consider seeking out tournaments at some of Wisconsin's classic courses, perhaps some that might not offer the name recognition of the courses listed above. Those courses (think Wanaki in Menomonee Falls, Reid Muni in Appleton or Odana Hills in Madison) tend to be more straight-forward for junior golfers and make the jump to 18-hole events more enjoyable.

Typically after a year or two, and as junior golfers approach high school, they will want to branch out and tackle some of the so-called heavyweights on the schedule. Visually intimidating courses such as the Irish Course at Whistling Straits and the Meadow Valleys Course at Blackwolf Run can make for a transition all to their own, but eventually junior golfers tend to learn that 150 yards is 150 yards whether it is over dry land or a water-filled penalty area that looks deeper and more imposing than an ocean.

Finally, a more rigorous advanced schedule will come calling, especially if college coaches are on the other end of the phone.

Most college coaches advocate for a healthy sample of 36-hole events so they can evaluate how a junior golfer performs from one day to the next, especially if the tournament doesn't switch courses at a 36-hole facility. Moreover, many NCAA Division I coaches expect those events to be scheduled through the American Junior Golf Association or other sanctioned governing bodies in which the courses are set up tough and long and better reflect what will be awaiting at the college level.

Be advised, however, that there are fewer college golf scholarships than many have been led to believe and many of those that are available are divvied up in various fractional partials. Therefore, most junior golfers need not sip the kind of Kool-Aid that some college coaches are prescribing until it is abundantly clear the natural ability of the golfer meets the lofty expectations of the school making the offer.

Besides, junior golfers seeking a stiffer challenge can get all they want right here at home via the State Opens administered by the Wisconsin PGA or the State Amateurs staged by the Wisconsin State Golf Association and the Wisconsin Women's State Golf Association. They have been a time-honored springboard to bigger and better things for generations of future Hall of Famers in Wisconsin, including current PGA Tour Champions golfers Steve Stricker, Jerry Kelly and Skip Kendall and former LPGA Tour star Sherri Steinhauer.

Not reflected on the adjacent charts are several events designed to keep the game fun. They include several offered by the Wisconsin PGA: the Junior Bestball Championship (June 25 at The Bull in Sheboygan Falls) and the Summer Scramble (July 26 at Old Hickory Golf Club in Beaver Dam) as well as the Drive, Chip & Putt competition open to juniors age 7 through 15 and the PGA Junior League, an introductory competitive platform akin to Little League baseball/softball run through member clubs.

Junior golf is whatever a boy or a girl — with, in many cases, a nudge from Mom and Dad — wants it to be. The opportunities are ready and waiting for Wisconsin's junior golf families to log-in ... after 6 p.m.

rob@killarneygolfmedia.com

Rob started covering the Wisconsin golf scene in 1987 at the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison & has been the only reporter covering all levels of state golf. He joined Killarney Golf Media in Sept. 2015 & helped launch Wisconsin.Golf in Jan. 2016.