PARKERSBURG - For more than 20 years, The Mid-Ohio Valley Junior Golf Association has given young golfers in the area an opportunity to compete on some of the best public courses without having to travel to the far-ends of the state.
Today marks the beginning of yet another season. The tournament is scheduled for an 8:30 a.m. tee time at St. Marys Golf Course and continues with a second stop Wednesday morning at Lakeside Golf Course in Beverly.
"A lot of kids out there don't have money to travel all over the state of West Virginia and get that exposure," said Ted Daugherty, who is part-owner of South Hills Golf Course and also a certified PGA golf professional that founded this tour about the same time the Callaway Junior Tour began as the Top Flite Junior Tour under the late Larry Martin.
"The MOVJGA is aimed more at a level people can afford," Daugherty continued. "It couldn't be done if public golf courses couldn't provide the space and time."
In the past several years, St. Marys Golf Course and North Bend Golf Course have replaced venues such as Northfork Valley Golf Course in Washington and Arrowhead Pines Golf Course in Beverly. North Bend Golf Course is new to the schedule this year.
Junior golfers will have the opportunity to compete at nine courses. After this week's tournaments, the schedule consists of Golf Club of West Virginia (July 2), Worthington Golf Course (July 3), North Bend Golf Course (July 11), Oxbow Golf and Country Club (July 18), Mingo Bottom Golf Club (July 23), South Hills Golf Course (July 29) and Woodridge Golf Club (July 30).
Based on finishes, points are accumulated toward prizes such as $1,000 and $500 college scholarships for the champion and runner-up in the 16-18 age division.
Age brackets also include 8-12 (9 holes) and 13-15. In the event there are a minimum of 12 girls in the 13-15 and 16-18 age divisions, those individuals will play in a separate division. Otherwise, girls play in the same division as boys, but hit from the ladies tees.
The MOVJGA membership fee is $20, which does not include the entry fee for each of the nine tournaments.
For more information, contact Daugherty at South Hills at 304-422-8381 or Ricky Johnson at Oxbow at (740) 423-6771.
"The MOVJGA is one of those things near and dear to my heart," Daugherty said. "I've always been under the impression that if you turn a kid loose on a golf course they will find a way to score."