Past, present and future. 2004 will witness Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge welcome golf’s best of each of those.
Each winter Arnold Palmer heads to the Bay Hill Club & Lodge where he makes his home for half the year. Each spring the world’s best golfers stop in Orlando, Fla., for the PGA TOUR’s Bay Hill Invitational. This summer, the future’s best golfers will head to Orlando to tackle Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge for themselves.
The American Junior Golf Association will stage the 18th annual HP Boys Junior Championship in late July on the same course that hosts one of the Tour’s most anticipated events. The prestige of the course and its fabulous history rivals that of the junior event it will now host. It can be argued who is honored more by the new relationship—the course or the tournament.
“We’re thrilled to be bringing one of our finest tournaments to one of the finest facilities in the country,” said Todd Corum, director of major championships for the AJGA. “It’s just the latest chapter in the storied history of the Boys Championship.”
Bay Hill boasts that its course “has everything Arnold Palmer admires in a golf course: wide open fairways that provide plenty of room to swing the driver, risk/reward options that will tempt the go-for-broker in you and multiple rows of bunkers protecting spacious and well-defined greens.”
Built in 1961, Bay Hill first welcomed Palmer in 1965 when he played in a golf exhibition at the facility. After shooting a 66, he fell in love with the course and decided to make it his winter home.
It was in 1970 when he and a group of partners purchased the Club and Lodge. Today, he serves as the primary owner along with two other business associates and is president of “The Bay Hill Club.” To this day, he still maintains a high profile at the club.
“He’s very active at the club,” said Brian Dorn, head golf professional at Bay Hill. “He keeps his home here (in the winter months) and it’s not uncommon to see him six to seven times a week around the club and the golf course.”
The home of one of golf’s greatest champions is now home to one of junior golf’s most prestigious events. And with the annual presence of today’s best professionals when the PGA TOUR makes its swing through Florida, Bay Hill can proudly lay claim to hosting the past, present and future best of golf.
“It’s pretty neat to have the best players in the world and the best junior players at our facility in the same year,” Dorn said. “We’re very excited. Anytime we can get the best future golfers at our facility, that’s a great feather in our cap.”
The AJGA has annually staged the HP Boys Junior Championship, its premier boys-only tournament, since 1987 when it inaugurated the event at Gleneagles Country Club in Plano, Texas. Each year the tournament has featured one of the strongest fields the AJGA sees.
With past champions such as Tiger Woods, David Duval, Justin Leonard, Jim Furyk, Charles Howell III, Ty Tryon and Matthew Rosenfeld, the tournament boasts one of the most impressive resumes of all events on the AJGA’s schedule.
“Over the years, the HP Boys Junior Championship has always been the finest boys-only field in junior golf,” said Beth Reuter, vice president of Player Services for the AJGA. “This year, the caliber of the golf course will shine as brightly as the caliber of the field.”