More than 60 junior golfers headed to the links at the Old Orchard Country Club in Mount Prospect, Ill. for the 2012 Traditions of Golf Challenge Aug. 3-5.
For 13 years, the Traditions of Golf Challenge has put youngsters to the ultimate test on their knowledge of golf rules, history and etiquette, as well as playing skills. Not knowing a piece of history, like the names of the only two women that have won the U.S. Open four times, is as detrimental as missing a putt. (The correct answer is Betsy Rawls and Mickey Wright, by the way.)
In the end, the team representing Prospect Heights (Ill.) Park District clinched the win with a score of 27-under par. The team from West Palm Beach (Fla.) came in second at 21-under par, while third place went to the Peoria, Ill. team that posted a two-under par score.
The title is Prospect Heights' second in a row and also marked the fifth time they have claimed the top spot during the tournament's history.
"We've had tremendous support from the coaches," Marc Heidkamp, one of the coaches for the Prospect Heights team and head pro at Old Orchard Country Club, said of the team's continual achievement. "It's exciting to see the kids come together to play as a team and rewarding to see them experience success."
Fourteen-year-old Lexi Heidkamp of the Prospect Heights team is already a veteran Traditions player. With experience at past events under her belt, she was able to better focus on the competition. "I was more comfortable at this year's Traditions event," she said. "The format was less intimidating because I knew what to expect."
Her favorite part of this year's Traditions event? "Having my mom as a coach," the teen says. Her mother, Marci Heidkamp, was a first-year coach.
In addition to Prospect Heights, West Palm Beach and Peoria, there were also teams from Hamburg, N.Y., Chicago Heights, Ill., Richmond, Va. and Naperville, Ill.
Teams consisted of two coaches and eight youngsters. Each team's score from their round was combined with their "Traditions of Golf" score to determine the overall champion of the two-day tournament.
"The Traditions of Golf Challenge represents the essence of golf from the rich history of the sport to etiquette the kids can take with them to each course they play on throughout their life," said Andy Parker, tournament director for the Traditions of Golf Challenge. "We strive to make each year's event challenging and fun for the players."
Cities were selected to participate in the Traditions of Golf Challenge based on their commitment to utilizing the entire Hook A Kid On Golf program to introduce children to golf who may not otherwise have the opportunity. Sites then choose eight participants to attend, ranging from ages 9-15.
Hook A Kid On Golf – a National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS) program – is an innovative youth golf program that eliminates the obstacles that often prevent many youngsters from enjoying the game.