Monarch Beach Resort Moments Magazine Issue 6 - Page 22

Tykes in the Tee Box The PGA Jr. League at Monarch Beach Golf Links introduces children to the world of golf and teaches them sportsmanship in a fun learning environment. BY JUDD SPICER S wing by swing, the smallest players are mak- ing a big impact on the future of the game at Monarch Beach Golf Links. Introduced just last year, the resort’s PGA Jr. League team was quick to echo the impressive rise of junior golf pro- grams across the fairways of Southern California. This increased interest is a result of the game’s governing bodies collectively taking a more proactive approach in ensuring new and engaging opportunities to entice golf ’s next generation of players. Debuted modestly by The PGA of America in 2011 with fewer than 200 teams across the country, the PGA Jr. League has since burgeoned into a national force of more than 42,000 participants. Backed by professional touring ambassadors such as Rory McIlroy, 22 MONARCHBEACHRESORT.COM Lexi Thompson, Michelle Wie and SoCal’s own Rickie Fowler, the league has helped allay national concerns about the game’s participation numbers. “The PGA Jr. League has really become more prom- inent in the recent years and become one of the biggest initiatives to help grow the game,” says Eric Lohman, PGA general manager at Monarch Beach Golf Links. As a board member of the Southern California PGA, and named the organization’s 2017 Golf Professional of the Year, Lohman has seen fi rsthand the rapid interest in the resort’s PGA Jr. League team. “With the personnel to manage the team, along with the growing interest from participants, we were able to start our own team,” he explains. “… It really has become such a positive thing for the club. For us to