Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

March 29, 2013

More to explore on EKJGA Walmart Tour

Rocky Stanley
The Independent

ASHLAND — As usual, Eastern Kentucky Junior Golf Association executive director Tom Cooksey worked through the winter, “tweaking” here and there to benefit members.

The EKJGA Walmart Tour, now in its sixth season, offers 10 tournaments between May 11 and July 31. But those won’t be the only events available to members.

Cooksey has reached agreements with both the Musselman-Dunn Junior Golf Tour and Kentucky Junior PGA Tour — formerly known as the Pepsi Tour — allowing EKJGA members an opportunity to compete in two other eastern Kentucky tournaments.

The MDJGT has a two-day event at StoneCrest Golf Course in Prestonsburg on May 18-19. Eagle Trace Golf Course, outside Morehead, will host a Kentucky Junior PGA Tour stop on April 13.

Both organizations have agreed to waive membership requirements for those events and allow EKJGA golfers to pay only tournament entry fees.

“It creates a great situation,” Cooksey said. “Musselman-Dunn and the Kentucky Junior tour run events all over the state, primarily in central Kentucky and portions west. This is an opportunity to play on those two tours, meet some of the best players in the state and compete with them. It’s helpful as an evaluating tool.”

Of the EKJGA’s early members this spring, more than half have signed up for the MDJGT event at StoneCrest.

Cooksey said he doesn’t know about the numbers for Eagle Trace, because (Kentucky Junior PGA Tour) requires golfers to apply through its own web site.

“Musselman-Dunn always comes to Prestonsburg and gets about 50 juniors,” Cooksey said. “I think together we can attract 100-120. It’s kind of the same thing with Kentucky Junior PGA Tour, they are trying to gain a presence.”

EKJGA will host two of its own tournaments at Eagle Trace this year, with River Bend dropping off due to a scheduling conflict.

“Eagle Trace has been our most popular spot,” Cooksey said. “It attracts more kids than any other, so we decided to add another tournament there.”

The EKJGA had 141 members last year and Cooksey is hoping for 140-160 this spring. Membership ($60) deadline is April 15. After that date, there is an additional $20 cost.

Each member receives an EKJGA monogrammed golf shirt, golf towel, bag tag, EKJGA hat and a USGA rules of Golf booklet.

The EKJGA is open to junior golfers who reside in or attend school in the Boys 11th and 12th regions and the Girls 10th and 11th regions, as defined by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association. Entry fee for individual tournaments vary.

This season, the EKJGA will allow distance measuring devices, as long as they do not gauge or measure other information that might affect play.       

Last year, Cooksey started an adult/junior event that pairs each junior golfer with an adult, usually a relative. The tournament at Sandy Creek Golf Course was popular and returns to the schedule May 11.

“The parents loved it,” Cooksey said. “I had a full field of 40 teams last year.”

On May 4, EKJGA members may again take part in a free clinic at Hidden Cove Golf Course, located in Grayson Lake State Park. Golf professionals Steve and Missy Kennedy will provide instruction.

In 2012, the EKJGA gave $1,200 to high school golf programs and $1,000 to local and state junior golf programs.

ROCKY STANLEY can be reached at rstanley@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2671.