Kentucky event honored with Hospitality Award

Local organizers of the Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior, which took place at Bellefonte Country Club in Ashland, Ky., June 11-14, 2013, have earned the Hospitality Award from the American Junior Golf Association. The Hospitality Award honors the tournament committee that creates a special tournament experience for the juniors and families in attendance at the event.

Each year, the AJGA presents awards to the tournaments with the best individual hospitality, Junior-Am fundraising tournament, charitable giving and volunteer base. Awards are also given to the events with the highest media and social media participation. Finally, the AJGA recognizes the year’s most outstanding golf professional, superintendent and general manager, as well as the most improved event, best new event, best Junior All-Star tournament, best Invitational and overall tournament of the year. Awards will be presented at the J.R. “Digger” Smith Awards Banquet in Braselton, Ga., on March 8.

“Exceptional hospitality is what we strive to do,” Tournament Chairman Jeff Conley said. “To have this type of recognition by a national organization like the AJGA is something that members and all the community enjoy. It makes them want to bring the tournament back every year.”

The tournament chairman and committee provide unique benefits to the juniors and their families with amenities to make participants feel welcome. Among these were a player and parents lounge, a tournament cookout and activities like “The Great Golf Ball Race” and a “Putt-Putt Challenge.” The tournament committee also hosted honorary starters for the final round, with volunteers representing the local area and announcing each player with a traditional Kentucky accent.

“We try and do the best we can to provide juniors and their parents with the feeling that they are at home at Bellefonte,” Conley said. “The food, the hospitality lounge for parents and players and the cookout all give it a hometown feel. We do everything we can to make it feel like they are at a hometown event.”

The tournament committee also gave several awards during the week, including the “Tom and Pat Cooksey Award,” which was presented to the low qualifier into the event, and the “Cameron Weis Sportsmanship Award” which was presented to a junior who showed true character. Every player who made the cut received a “Making the Cut Gift” which was personally presented to them on the first tee of the final round by Conley.

Since winning the Volunteer Award in 2001, the tournament has also received the Junior-Am Award in 2008, Tournament of the Year Award in 2009 and Charitable Giving Award in 2011 and 2012.

The tournament returns to the AJGA schedule in 2014 and will be played June 10-13 at Bellefonte Country Club.

Complete list of 2013 Tournament Awards.