BELLA VISTA — A group of young golfers are happy things are starting to get back to normal.
After last season’s PGA Junior League in Bella Vista was cancelled due to covid-19, things have geared up to return to form with this week’s first practices and the season just around the corner.
“We’ve got six returners and will have 12-15 players total,” said Gavin Smith, one of the PGA Golf Professionals with the Bella Vista Property Owners Association who runs and coaches the Bella Vista junior league program. “We had golfers who were a little upset they couldn’t play last year. We got two practices in and then put a stop to things.
“We’ve got a lot of interest in the program and I know I’m happy to be back coaching again.”
PGA Junior League Golf is for boys and girls, ages 7 to 13, of all skill levels and abilities to learn the game of golf. Much like other recreational league sports, participants wear numbered jerseys and play on teams. Each team is captained by a PGA or LPGA Professional, who serves as the coach, and utilizes a scramble format.
“Junior League is a great way to introduce young kids to the game of golf,” Smith said. “Golf can be intimidating and this way they can play in a team format. It’s a two-person scramble versus an opponent and we play three-hole segments that are called flags and worth a point.
“You total all the matches and see who the winning team is. We play matches home and away.”
Bella Vista’s home course will be at Scotsdale, Smith said. Other teams in the area will be from Fayetteville, Springdale and from The First Tee in Lowell.
“Our first match is May 1 at The First Tee,” Smith said. “We will be able to get in three practices before them and then play matches three Saturdays in a row.
“Some of the teams will be older and some will be younger. The whole goal, though, is to get the kids exposed to golf and it be less intimidating.”
Anyone interested in learning more about joining the league can sign up at pgajrleague.com.