At The Grove, we believe the core values one takes away from golf, such as honesty, sportsmanship, integrity, and respect are valuable life skills. The old adage that children are our future holds true for the game of golf as well, and that is why we began The Grove Junior Golf Program exclusively for our residents, where kids can participate in clinics, camps, private instruction, and even our PGA Junior League team.
We are honored to be trusted with growing the game with these remarkable young players and proud to report that The Grove’s PGA Junior League Team is flourishing. The excitement, dedication, and energy these young players bring to the Club is palpable. It is our intention to harness this excitement, to welcome new players to the game, to encourage and grow players, of all ages and skill levels, to exceed their own expectations. It is our intention to become the best Junior Golf Program in the state of Tennessee. We will achieve this goal by continuing to make learning golf fun and rewarding.
Junior golf instructors, Jude Lanahan and Hannah Skelley introduce our young players to the fun and rewarding game of golf with one-on-one sessions, sports camps and group clinics with skill-based games and activities, friendly competitions, and weekly practices with our PGA Junior League team.
PGA Junior League
The PGA Junior League is a team sport with emphasis is placed on teamwork and communication. The Grove participants have been playing exceptionally well this summer. “The players work so well together, they’re great team players,” says Junior Golf Instructor Hannah Skelley. “These young players range in experience, from the very experienced to the fairly new, but talented. The dedication and sportsmanship these young players show is incredible. It is rewarding to see the more experienced players coaching the less experienced players and offering words of encouragement.”
The Grove is an active participant in the PGA Junior League’s Sneds Tour, Tennessee’s premier junior golf tour for golfers ages 4-19. The Grove PGA Junior League team has 13 kids participating in the Sneds Tour, with a four to one winning record.
2020 our winners include:
Jake Eickoff: 4 Individual Tournament Wins
Jentry Eickoff: Shark Division Winner, 18-hole winner, 1 Tournament Wins, Junior Club Champion
Brayden Bennett: 3 Tournament Wins
Brooke Bennett: 3 Tournament Wins, 5 Top 3 Finishes, Junior Club Champion, Shark Division Winner
Kellan Spaude: 3 Tournament Wins
Gabby Diaz: 2 Sneds Tour Wins, 2 Top 3 Finishes
Elizabeth Bowman: 1 Sneds Tour Win, 2 Top 3 Finishes, Junior Club Champion: 18 Holes
Girls Junior Golf
The Grove Junior Girls have had some great tournaments of the 2020 season. We would love to spotlight them and congratulate them on a few of their accomplishments!
Of the 5 Sneds Tournaments Brooke Bennett (11) has played this year, she has won 3 and finished in the top 3 for all 5. Her wins came at Harpeth Valley, The Little Course, and Cedar Crest. More importantly, Brooke has been dedicated to doing 50 up and downs a day. This has made a huge impact on her game over the past few weeks. She took 99 minutes to get 50 up and downs on her first day, and recently it only took her 54 minutes. On the course, this has translated from a 99, to a 93, to an 85! She reduced her putts from more than 40 to 31 on 9 holes.
Another one of our Junior Girls, Elizabeth Bowman (13), has competed all Summer in the 18-hole division of both the Junior Club Championship, and Sneds Tour events. She placed 1st in The Grove Junior Club Championship, second at Champion’s Run, and third at both Harpeth Hills and Sewanee Golf Course. She is finishing her season this week in a two-day event.
Finally, Gabby Diaz (13) has made a great showing for Junior Golf at The Grove. Gabby has had 2 first place finishes at Cheekwood Golf Course with a score of 40, and at Ted Rhodes with a score of 43. She’s also placed 3rd in two other tournaments and missed third place by one stroke in two others.
Junior Golf Clinics
For players ages 4-17 that are new to the game or not quite experienced enough for PGA competition level, we offer Grove Kids League clinics. These clinics are an excellent opportunity to improve skills and learn the fundamentals of the game.
Clinics are great for beginners, strengthen collaborative efforts, a really fun way to dip your toes into the game of golf. Currently, there are approximately 50 kids in the grove junior training program. With a maximum of 8 players in a clinic, the popularity of our junior program has resulted in a waitlist for most clinics.
The Growth of a Young Grove Golfer
“It is amazing that these kids put in so many hours of practice and at such a young age,” Skelley explains. “They just love it! One of our players, Cooper Mueller, is in his first year with the PGA junior league. We started working with him one-on-one in lessons. His improvement from May until now is amazing! Cooper works so well under pressure.”
One morning Cooper’s dad woke up to find him on the treadmill at 6:30am. When asked what he was doing Cooper replied that he wants to get golf ready. He was excited to be a part of the team and didn’t want to let them down. He knows his teammates rely on him and wants to continue to grow and excel.
Cooper now works with younger kids in junior clinics to share his experience and provide encouragement. These young players have formed meaningful friendships, they have fun and have the drive to win, but at the end of the day they have a strong support group that will always be there for each other.
Looking Toward the Future
Hannah hopes to see the Junior Golf Program expand from 1 PGA team to 2 next year. We hope to encourage our young players to take the lessons learned here at The Grove and continue on to participate in high school golf, the Sneds tour, then onto college scholarships.
We are so proud of the progress of all our Junior Golfers here at The Grove and can’t wait to see what the future holds for each of them!