PINEHURST, N.C. -- When nearly 1,300 of the top young players tee it up for the 11th Annual World Championship in Pinehurst, many will walk away from the course with as many family memories as birdies.
For the fifth consecutive year, U.S. Kids Golf and Pinehurst will partner in support of the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship and Teen Championship, the largest and most prestigious worldwide annual junior golf events. More than 1,800 participants will represent nearly 40 countries in the two competitions, which highlight nearly two weeks of festivities beginning July 29.
The tournament has grown over the years, from 400 competitors in 2002 to today, an increase of 225 percent.
For families, the days in and around Pinehurst will be as much about having a ball as striking one, as focused on growing relationships as it is grooving swings. Most players will have caddies, usually a parent, grandparent or friend.
"These events show new and returning players how much fun golf is," said Dan Van Horn, president and founder of U.S. Kids Golf. "The memories children experience walking the links with friends and family are invaluable. That's what delights us about hosting this premier junior golf event each year.
The three-day World Championship begins Aug. 5. Boys and girls are divided into age groups ranging from 6 through age 12. Each group will tee off at one of several courses formatted to meet age-appropriate yardage, layout and hole quantity standards. The tournament will play out within the Village of Pinehurst's most scenic venues, including Pinehurst No. 3, No. 4 and No. 8, Legacy, Little River, Longleaf, Mid Pines, Midland and Talamore.
A week prior to the World Championship, U.S. Kids Golf and Pinehurst will team up to host the fifth-annual Teen World Championship and Teen World Cup. The event, which takes place July 29-31, mirrors the format of the World Championship and features nearly 500 male and female golfers from across the world between ages 13 and 18.
"I am pleased with the continual growth of the Teen World Championship and the exposure it provides players to colleges," Van Horn said. "We have featured several players who began in the youngest age groups of the World Championship and now have returned for the Teen Championship. These championships show how far the sport of golf continues to advance around the world."
HITTING THE GREEN: ECONOMIC IMPACT
The events attract 5,000 visitors from all 50 states and 40 countries. That creates a local economic impact of about $3.9 million, according to the Moore County Convention and Visitors Bureau, which works out to spending of about $780 per person. Three of every four attendees stay five to nine nights - longer than the 3.3 night average for other leisure travelers to the area.
"We're glad to provide an economic shot in the arm," Van Horn said. "Pinehurst remains at the epicenter of the American and global golf landscapes, and we are proud to once again partner with an organization that shares our goal of preserving and expanding golf.
"This is great exposure for young golfers to play at a venue that has hosted some of the sport's biggest names and most prominent events. I'm sure there are some jealous moms and dads."
The U.S. Kids Golf World Cup concludes competition Aug. 8. Featuring the World Championship's top finishers in the 12-year-old group, the World Cup pits golfers from the United States against a World team in a match-play format.
Along with the tournament itself, World Championship week includes several other opportunities to golf alongside friends and family. The week begins with the first annual Parent/Child competition on Aug. 2, which pairs young participants with their biggest fans for an 18-hole showdown.
Visit www.uskidsgolf.com for more information regarding the World Championship, Teen Championship and U.S. Kids Golf. Fans and families can also follow on Twitter (twitter.com/uskidsgolffnd) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/uskidsgolf)
About the U.S. Kids Golf Foundation
The U.S. Kids Golf Foundation is a 501 c (3) nonprofit organization that was established in 2001. The vision of the U.S. Kids Golf Foundation is to provide kids and their families the opportunity to participate in the game of golf through instruction and competition. All profits collected by the U.S. Kids Golf Foundation are allocated towards growing the game of golf through the expansion of competition. Currently, the U.S. Kids Golf Foundation conducts more than 400 local, regional, national, and international events. To learn more, please visit www.uskidsgolf.com .
Christopher Carme (706) 974-9476