The AJGA pace of play program took the front seat during the Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive” on Wednesday. Executive Director Stephen Hamblin called in as a guest during Wednesday’s broadcast to discuss the growth of the AJGA and its programs, with pace of play in the spotlight.
Hamblin credited much of the success of pace of play to thorough education and setting good pace habits early. Before a tournament even begins, the AJGA conducts a mandatory Players Meeting to inform players on AJGA policies and to provide tips to help set the pace during the tournament. During a Parents Meeting, parents are given the opportunity to learn about pace of play and understand how important it is to exercise good pace techniques at an early age.
“The kids really enjoy playing fast, that is the bottom line,” Hamblin said. “When you’ve got most of our tournaments in the summer heat…with volunteers, grandparents, parents and players, we think it is a safety issue.”
Ultimately, pace of play is a system to ensure the well-being of AJGA players. As Hamblin noted, in the summer heat it is vital to set a fast pace to counter elements of summer golf. Through pace of play and other measures, such as the 2012 Operation Hydration initiative, the AJGA ensures juniors play in a fun and safe environment that will lead to future success on the golf course.
The AJGA also provides an online educational series, “Setting the Pace,” to give players a comprehensive view of pace of play and provide helpful tips on how to set a good tournament pace.
“Morning Drive” was also the perfect platform to highlight the ACE Grant program, which helps combat the costs of playing a national junior golf schedule for players without the financial resource. In 2011, the ACE Grant program surpassed $1 million in reimbursements.
“Morning Drive” host Jerry Foltz can personally attest to the growth and development of the Association. Foltz worked for the AJGA during a summer in the early 80s under AJGA founder Mike Bentley. His experience with the AJGA came full-circle as Hamblin celebrated the success of the Association and looked toward the future of junior golf.