When one door closes, another opens.
The old saying rang particularly true for 2020 New England PGA Junior Tour members earlier this spring. In a typical year, the Junior Tour’s Spring Series is a week-long series of 9-hole tournaments that many juniors mark on their calendars as a way to gauge their game, pinpoint strengths and weaknesses, and feed their golf appetite after a long winter.
However, this is not a typical year. The height of the coronavirus-related shutdowns put a quick halt to the Spring Series. But that didn’t leave Junior Tour members with a void in their spring schedule. Instead, Jacy Settles, the NEPGA’s Director of Junior Golf, offered members another avenue to prepare for a full slate of summer tournaments: A six-part Live Virtual Junior Clinic series, hosted by New England PGA Professionals.
The series, which ran throughout May, featured PGA Professionals Brian Diamond, Eric Barlow, Ben Egan, Peter Hulbert and Dave Donnellan, who combine for a half-dozen PGA Section or Chapter awards, and award-winning golf fitness instructor Kevin Duffy. Dozens of Junior Tour members made the Tuesday-Thursday 3:00 p.m. clinic part of their weekly learn-from-home routine, taking advantage not only of the lesson plan, but the opportunity to ask live questions to PGA Professionals.
The Professionals presented clinics covering Drills for the Yard, Practicing & Preparing for Tournaments, The Full Swing, Body & Swing Connection, Personalizing Your Pre-shot Routine, and Drills to Improve Various Aspects of Your Game. With each clinic lasting 45 minutes or more with a PGA Professional, members enjoyed a benefit worth much more than the low membership cost.
The series was a success not only with Junior Tour members, but the PGA Professionals who hosted clinics. With several Professionals offering to host more virtual clinics down the road, Junior Tour Virtual Clinics just may become an annual staple of the Junior Tour calendar. Much like the Spring Series.