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Wisconsin sees increase in junior golfers during pandemic

Posted at 9:32 AM, Apr 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-28 10:32:31-04

There was a big increase in outdoor activities during the pandemic, especially last summer when many events were canceled. People got out and hiked, bikes were selling like hotcakes and golf saw a resurgence.

That record interest in golf means more young people are playing the sport as well. The Wisconsin PGA Junior Golf Foundation is seeing more kids competing more often. It hosts tournaments every year and has 130 tournaments between now and October this year.

Sign-ups just opened to everyone last week and more than 10 percent of events are already full with 2500 more entries this year than last, which was a record year.

Andy Landenberger is the director of junior golf at the Wisconsin PGA Junior Foundation. TMJ4's Susan Kim asked Landenberger why he thinks the interest in golf has translated to the junior golf level.

Landenberger says, "The big thing that we saw last year was kids that couldn't play other sports, gravitated towards golf. So they couldn't play baseball, basketball teams didn't have practice, they're wondering like what can I do and parents are scrambling like, oh, we can play golf?"

The organization was able to run a full slate of tournaments last season with safety measures in place like social distancing, tee times, and leaving flag sticks in holes when putting.

Landenberger says many of those athletes are back this year and playing in more tournaments. Nine 13-year-olds make up the biggest increase. Landenberger has already added 10 tournaments for these nine-holers, to try and accommodate that added interest.

Landenberger says, "We could probably run 10 more futures tour events because it's what people want to play. In those events, we have 60 players and four or five of them are already full."

The WPGA Junior Golf Foundation runs tournaments for kids of all abilities, from 6 to 21-years-old. For more information on getting your child involved in these golf tournaments, click on the link here:

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