AJGA Junior at Forest Lake presented by Tom Holzer Ford honored for media coverage
AJGA tournaments feature the best young players at the best courses, and those who are close to the AJGA know that’s not an exaggeration. Newspaper and television coverage can provide the “a-ha!” moments that bring players and stories to life in communities, creating new fans of the AJGA with every article, interview and sound bite.
During the 2015 AJGA Junior at Forest Lake presented by Tom Holzer Ford, the media in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, embraced the AJGA with extensive coverage of both the competition and its players, and because of that the AJGA has honored Tournament Chairman Richard Lynch and his Committee with the Media Award.
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. Tournament awards for the 2015 season will be presented on-site at 2016 tournaments.
“All of us at Forest Lake are thrilled to receive this award and recognition,” Lynch said. “After hosting two very successful events in 2013 and 2014, one of our Committee’s goals for 2015 was to enhance and expand the media coverage in Southeast Lower Michigan. We asked for and received tremendous support from the Bloomfield Township Media Group for electronic and print coverage prior to and during our event.”
Two TV stations covered the tournament, including Detroit’s NBC affiliate, WDIV-TV. The AJGA tournament was featured in a #LiveInTheD segment, where anchor Guy Gordon walked nine holes with defending champion Nick Carlson and local player Michael Busse. The four-minute feature aired on the broadcast and was posted on the station’s website.
Additionally, coverage by the Oakland Press and interviews on local radio stations helped elevate the tournament and solidified the AJGA tournament as a major event on the local sports calendar.
“Thanks to all of this local media support we had the largest number of spectators in our three-year history come out to support the young men and women participating in our AJGA event,” Lynch said.
Lynch and his Committee will be presented the Media Award at the 2016 AJGA Junior at Forest Lake presented by Tom Holzer Ford, scheduled for Aug. 8-11 at Forest Lake Country Club.
“Rich raised his expectations for media coverage and took it upon himself to accomplish his goals,” said Matt Larson, AJGA senior regional director, Midwest. “This Media Award represents a passion for the AJGA and the incredible job he did sharing his passion with the Bloomfield Township community.”
For longtime excellence in media coverage, the AJGA has also given special recognition to two tournaments: the Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior in Ashland, Kentucky, and the ClubCorp Mission Hills Desert Junior in Rancho Mirage, California.
Each year since 1984, Bellefonte Country Club has hosted the Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior, and The Daily Independent newspaper has covered the great majority of those events. Photo galleries, daily recaps and feature stories are the norm, and the AJGA tournament is a must-see event due in large part to the dedicated media coverage through the decades.
"On behalf of the tournament committee, Bellefonte Country Club and our dedicated community volunteers, we are honored to receive this recognition," said Jeff Conley, longtime tournament chairman. "We owe special thanks to Rocky Stanley of The Daily Independent who, throughout the years, has consistently written feature articles about players and volunteers important to the success of the tournament, along with detailed round-by-round coverage throughout tournament week."
Larry Bohannan, sports writer for The Desert Sun in California’s Coachella Valley, has covered the ClubCorp Mission Hills Desert Junior for over a decade. Not only has he covered champions like Alison Lee, Patrick Cantlay and local standout Jennifer Johnson, he has helped tell the story of the AJGA and its impact on junior golf.