The American Junior Golf Association announced its revised 2020 Schedule and new health and safety guidelines for an expanded summer lineup which features seven events per week and the most robust fall competition in the Association’s more than 40-year history.
The AJGA will use a proactive approach to managing social distancing at all tournaments to directly address concerns for safety. These plans were developed by using recommendations from global health partners and working in conjunction with the Back2Golf plan, an industry-wide collaboration of the PGA TOUR, PGA of America, USGA, LPGA, IAGA and allied golf associations. In addition, the AJGA is working with local government officials to ensure community guidelines are met.
In all discussions, three guiding principles were paramount to bringing competition back without interruption: limiting the overall number of people at an event, eliminating all possible touch points, and maximizing the game’s natural physical distance.
“Creative solutions are our hallmark,” said Executive Director Stephen Hamblin. “Returning safely to our mission after a global pandemic has required the coordinated effort of our staff, board, and local and global partners. We’ve used extensive expert advice, examined and adapted how we do absolutely everything in the safest possible way, and built a playbook for our team to follow.”
National Sponsors TaylorMade and adidas Golf will continue to give back to junior golfers through their partnership, support of dedicated events, special gifting and product, and continued AJGA-only member discounting on purchases.
New operational guidelines
- The 2020 tournament, qualifier, and Junior-Am fields will be contested as predominantly 78 players off one tee. This structure will allow maximum social distancing, which will be required under the Code of Conduct, especially during inclement weather.
- To limit the overall number of people at host facilities at any time, each player may be accompanied by one spectator, ideally a family member or guardian, with no exceptions. Approved media and sponsors, and college golf coaches may attend events. Staff, essential volunteers and players will participate in health screening questions prior to tournament play. An advanced health care provider (doctor or nurse) will be available at each event.
- The AJGA will eliminate all physical paperwork, providing digital access to tournament documents by email and through each event’s website. Players will score exclusively using the Golf Genius app on a smart phone; no paper scorecards will be exchanged or used.
- During competition and practice rounds, flagsticks will always remain in the hole and bunker rakes will be removed from the course. Additional rules may be implemented per USGA regulations and will be sent in player communications prior to each competition.
- AJGA staff will follow special guidelines to mitigate exposure while traveling to events and will implement new procedures for sanitizing equipment at each location. Top-quality masks, provided by IFGfit, will be worn when staff interact with others.
- Players will be admitted to practice facilities only during designated warm-up times, set to begin one hour prior to each scheduled tee time. Host practice facilities may be closed after practice and competitive rounds. The AJGA will provide recommendations for other local practice facilities to use, if desired.
- All AJGA stakeholders are asked to follow Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for personal safety and illness.
- A full summary of the AJGA’s guidelines is available for review.
Membership Service updates
- A modified Refund Policy will be extended through the 2020 season. Event fees are refundable up to 100% for one event.
- With reduced opportunities to earn and use Performance Based Entry (PBE) status, all 2019 earned PBE Status will now expire at the end of the 2021 season, instead of 2020.
The AJGA Schedule will continue to evolve through the season and features these highlights:
- Rescheduled 11 Preview Series events, designed specifically as a first AJGA experience, will continue to offer the opportunity for members to build PBE status July through October.
- More than 55 Qualifiers are intended to provide members, and non-members, the opportunity to test their skills nationally to earn PBE status or to play their way into corresponding Junior All-Star or Open tournaments. Field sizes will be limited to 78 players and tee times only (no shotguns).
- The Junior All-Star Series, created for 12- to 15-year-olds, will feature 16 events including Harold Varner III’s inaugural tournament announced at the 2019 Wyndham Championship.
- More than 55 Open events provide competition across all age divisions and are supported by PGA & LPGA Tour hosts like Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, Billy Horschel, Stewart Cink, Harold Varner III, Kyle Stanley, Vaughn Taylor, K.J. Choi, Bob Estes, D.A. Points, Brendan Steele, Stan Utley, Bo Van Pelt, Se Ri Pak, Alison Lee, S.H. Park, Stacy Lewis, Shanshan Feng, Danielle Kang and Marina Alex.
- Eight additional Invitationals will be hosted, beginning with The AJGA Invitational at Sedgefield on June 8-12 which also re-opens the Rolex AJGA Rankings.
Leadership Links supports COVID-19 charitable efforts
During time away from golf, more than 30 AJGA junior golfers used the Leadership Links program to fundraise nearly $30,000 to battle COVID-19 through Direct Relief, which provides essential personal protective gear to health care workers.
AJGA increases ACE Grant financial support
- With financial hardship at the forefront of 2020, the AJGA has increased its maximum reimbursement to $5,000 for this year.
- The ACE Grant covers qualified entry fees and travel expenses for national junior golf, high school state and USGA events. Financial support is based on audited tax information. Since its inception in 2003, the AJGA has reimbursed more than $4 million in member expenses, which were turned into more than $15 million in college golf scholarships. Both 2019 Rolex Junior Players of the Year were ACE Grant recipients.
- New 2020 guidelines are available on the ACE Grant page along with a calculator to determine preliminary eligibility.