Golf’s Next Generation Look to Master European Championship

by Stuart Milne

Friday, May 20th, 2016

Nigerian Team Hats Off

THE next generation of golf pros will flock to Scotland this month to battle it out for honours in one of the world’s most prestigious junior championships.

With 620 boys and girls from all across the globe lined up to play on some of the country’s most beautiful courses, the 2016 U.S. Kids Golf European Championship in East Lothian will showcase some of the sport’s most promising rising stars.

The 2016 U.S. Kids Golf European Championship – involving nine boys age groups and seven girl age groups – takes places over May 31st-June 3rd over Gullane No.3, Craigielaw, Longniddry, Luffness and The Glen golf courses in East Lothian, Scotland’s Golf Coast.

Players from 50 nations – including countries as diverse as Ukraine, Mauritius, Nigeria and U.A.E. will be represented – with the youngest competitor being five.

The European Championship – like all U.S. Kids Golf Foundation tournaments –   puts emphasis on high quality competition and the use of scaled yardages, depending on age, to foster enjoyment of the game. Providing quality specialist junior equipment, U.S. Kids Golf was created to help children form a lifelong relationship with golf, removing some of the barriers that discourage young people from continuing to hone their skills.

Dan Van Horn, President and founder of U.S. Kids Golf, said: “We’re incredibly proud of how U.S. Kids Golf has helped young golfers across the world not just stick with the game but develop their skills and love for the game.

“Playing with my family was the inspiration for starting the brand and U.S. Kids Golf Foundation, so it’s fantastic to see parent caddies and family vacations still playing a huge part in our tournaments.Shah - travelled furthest this year

“It is hugely satisfying thing to see players from all over the world take so much joy from playing in Scotland and getting back to the roots of the game.

“The European Championship also provide a real opportunity for young girls and boys to meet new friends whilst perfecting their play and I have no doubt that some of the talent in Scotland will one day be teeing up to play at the Majors.”

The list of top names who cut their teeth in competitive junior golf isn’t limited to the men’s game. Seven of the nine current GB and Ireland Curtis Cup squad played in U.S. Kids Golf or Wee Wonders tournaments as they built up their golfing talents.

Tournament co-ordinator and Gullane Golf Club Professional Alasdair Good, said: “It’s always great having the European Championship here in East Lothian. Hosting a tournament with such a great reputation for producing top golfers is a real pleasure.

“The opportunity for spectators to see some the best developing talent in the world in action is quite special and I’d encourage people to come out and watch.”

The top finishers in each age category will compete in the European Van Horn Cup on June 3rd – a showpiece event, modelled on the Ryder Cup, where the best European players are matched up against the top golfers from the rest of the world.

Councillor John McMillan, East Lothian Council’s spokesperson for Economic Development and Tourism said: “It’s wonderful to welcome these budding young golfers back to East Lothian. I know that the players and their families thoroughly enjoy their time in our fantastic county with its scenery, warm hospitality and, of course, world-class golf courses.

“I very much look forward to welcoming this year’s competitors. It’s great to see golf’s future stars playing right here in East Lothian, which is home to the world’s oldest continuously-played golf course at Musselburgh Old Links. It’s a great link between history and the future.”

Now in its 9th year, the European Championship serves as an aspirational goal for junior golfers across the world thanks to the growth of U.S. Kids Golf International Events and relationships maintained with Tournament Directors worldwide. As part of its burgeoning development in Europe, and to develop priority status to compete in the European Championship, U.S. Kids Golf Foundation now run the British Kids Championship, Venice Open and two European Local Tours.

Since holding its first tournament in 2000, U.S. Kids Golf Foundation now runs some 1,000 events each year including the prestigious World Championship at Pinehurst.

The Foundation is the charitable branch of U.S. Kids Golf – the world’s largest producer of junior golf equipment. The firm has pioneered the development of golf clubs for young people, eliminating the problem of kids using heavier, cut-down adult clubs which often hurts developing swings and discourages budding players.

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