Texas Junior Golf Alliance Enters New Chapter
HOUSTON (Jan. 14, 2019)– The Texas Junior Golf Alliance today announced a three-year extension by each of its four founding partners – Southern Texas PGA, Northern Texas PGA, Texas Golf Association and Houston Golf Association. The new agreement takes effect immediately and runs through December 2021.
Formed in 2012, the goal of the Alliance was to allow junior golfers a clear path to the best tournaments in Texas. Each of the three tier two organizations (STPGA, NTPGA, HGA) conduct events that serve as qualifiers into the statewide tier one events run by the Legends Junior Tour (LJT). This allows players to compete in local events, in which they can earn spots to play in statewide tournaments. The Texas Golf Association runs and operates the LJT, which conducts elite-level, statewide junior events, such as the Byron Nelson Junior Championship, Texas Cup Invitational and Texas Girls Invitational.
“This extended agreement is extremely exciting for junior golfers as it strengthens the partnership between all four founding partners,” said Thomas Hutton, Executive Director for the Southern Texas PGA. “It gives more playing opportunities, both locally and statewide, and continues to show that junior golf in Texas is the best in the country.”
This new agreement comes with a few changes and additions. Starting in 2019, players who participate in tier two events have the ability to earn full status on the LJT by way of “the Battle Field Promotion” concept. This promotion takes places when a player wins two tier two events with the same organization in a calendar year.
“Our goal for the alliance is to provide a clear player pathway for the best playing junior golfers in Texas who desire to play in college and perhaps beyond without ever needing to leave the State,” said Mark Harrison Executive Director / CEO of the Northern Texas PGA. “With the addition of Battle Field Promotion, we are excited to provided kids who win twice in a calendar year on the STPGA Prestige Tour, the NTPGA All American Tour or the HGA Performance Series to jump straight to the Legends Junior Tour. The PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour both have similar Battle Field Promotions with their partner tours, the Web.com and Symetra Tours, so we are confident that it will be a great way to both incentivize and reward players.”
Another new component is the increase of Invitational tournaments conducted by the LJT. The Bluebonnet Championship, which is played annually in May, will transition from an Open event to an Invitational. In addition, a new Texas Junior Golf Alliance Invitational will be formed in the fall.
“With increased demand and players wanting to qualify and then play in a championship event, adding two more Invitationals was ideal for the Legends Junior Tour and the overall Alliance,” said Stacy Dennis, Executive Director of the Texas Golf Association. “This allows for more exemptions to be given out at STPGA, NTPGA and HGA events but still run the most highly competitive junior golf events in the state.”
This year alone between all four organizations, the Texas Junior Golf Alliance will conduct more than 75 tournaments across the state. Each tour has past champions who have gone on to play at the highest levels in college and professionally. Supremely talented competitors such as Jordan Spieth, Cole Hammer and Hailee Cooper are all Texas Junior Golf Alliance alumni.
“The HGA is looking forward to seeing these changes and enhancements to the Texas Junior Golf Alliance,” said Steve Timms, CEO of the Houston Golf Association. “Junior golf remains an important element to our organization and these events provide incentive to improve your game and earn Legends Junior Tour exemptions.”
For a complete listing of each organization’s 2019 schedule, please visit the websites below. The first alliance event is taking place in January.
About the Legends Junior Tour: Part of the Texas Golf Association and its Foundation since its inception in 2005, the LJT has provided junior golfers with a chance to compete at a statewide level and hone their skills. The tour features 20 events throughout the state and offers players a chance to earn playing opportunities in national events throughout the year. The LJT has a proven record of helping junior golfers in the state prepare for the national level of competitive golf as well as offer kids a chance to ready themselves and move into the collegiate golf ranks. Each LJT event is open to any member of the Texas Junior Golf Alliance who is under the age of 19 and has proven themselves through one of the Alliance Partners.
About the Southern Texas PGA Foundation: Founded in 1994, the Southern Texas PGA Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, is committed to impacting lives through the game of golf. Each year close to 6,000 children and their families are impacted through the Foundation that creates an understanding that golf is a lifelong sport that teaches values and life lessons. Our Foundation prides itself on instilling our juniors with positive character traits and a commitment to integrity and honor. The Srixon Prestige Tour now in its 6th year has become the highest level regional tour in Southern Texas and provides players the clear pathway to the Legends Junior Tour. In 2019, the tour will have over 25 events on its schedule.
About the Northern Teas PGA Junior Golf Foundation: Founded in 1983, the Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, that is committed to introducing, promoting and growing the game of golf to a diverse group of kids in North Texas and instilling in them the positive, character developing traits for which the game is so well known. Each year close to 10,000 children and their families are impacted by the game that lasts a lifetime through a full circle of programs and services including:
• Introduction – Golf in Schools, Fairway to Success After School Program, Drive, Chip and Putt and Summer Golf Camps
• Playing – Team Golf, PGA Junior League, Prep, Medalist Levels and All-American Tour – 500+ tournaments per year
• Education – College Scholarships – $2.36M distributed including $307,500 awarded in 2018
• Employment – Internship and Camp Program
About the Houston Golf Association: Founded in 1946, the Houston Golf Association (HGA) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Since inception the HGA has existed to make a difference in Houston communities and in the lives of area youth through golf and charity. HGA began offering its junior golf program to the Greater Houston Area in 1957. Since that time, thousands of youth have benefitted from the opportunities the program has afforded them. HGA, through its wholly owned subsidiary – The First Tee of Greater Houston reached over 350,000 youth in 2018 through elementary school, after school and traditional golf programs, introducing the game of golf to a broad and diverse audience across the Greater Houston Region.
A new and essential part of HGA’s impact is the Municipal Golf Initiative, which upgrades public golf facilities, beautifies green spaces, and creates a place to mentor youth through The First Tee of Great Houston program. For more information visit hga.org.