About a year-and-a-half ago, a national tournament for high school golf was a foreign concept. During the last week of June in Orlando, 43 states were represented and nearly 300 high school golfers competed in the inaugural High School Golf National Invitational, turning what was just an idea into one of the most important high school golf tournaments in the entire country.
The performances on both the boys and girls side lived up to the hype and expectation. The Boy’s Invitational took place on the Disney Magnolia and Palm Courses at 6,900 yards and Girl’s competing at Falcon’s Fire Golf Club at 5,900 yards with a total of 16 players finishing at even par or better in 95-degree heat. The amazing talent brought college coaches, industry leaders, and local and national media to the tournament.
“Many other high school sports such as football, basketball, and baseball have national tournaments for high schoolers, so we thought, why not golf? said NHSGA manager Chris Noble. “This event will become the pinnacle of high school golf and valuable to college coaches seeking hidden talent they may not see on the junior golf circuit.”
The American Junior Golf Association (AJGA), Junior Golf Scoreboard and Junior Golf Hub are all in support of the National Invitational in it’s the first year and pledged to support the event in the years to come.
“It was a professionally run event and we’d like to thank the staff at both Falcon’s Fire and Disney for making last week possible,” said the NHSGA Operations staff. “It was a pleasure to meet all the great coaches, players, and parents and we’re already excited about next year.”
Players from all types of backgrounds and locations of the country competed over the two days. One of the most impressive stories came out of Oklahoma where a high school senior, Max Roberts, overcame the brink of homelessness to capture a state championship and represented his state proudly at Disney.
In the Girl’s Invitational, an exciting playoff for the championship was seen with team California and South Carolina finishing at 8-over 584 for the two days. It took two holes for California to best South Carolina by one shot in the team division.
The boy’s team from Drew Charter Academy represented the state of Georgia proudly as the first All African-American high school golf team to win a state title in Georgia. All the boys are members of The First Tee chapter of East Lake and recently the team was honored by the Atlanta City Council for their achievements this season.
“It was exciting to meet the coaches and players from all across the country. Having 43 states represented was a huge success for our first year,” said NHSGA Commissioner Matt Weinberger. Over the coming years, the National Invitational will be one of the most important and celebrated junior golf tournaments to bring together the most diverse field of high school golfers from across the country.
The NHSGA is a division of Nextgengolf, which was recently acquired by the PGA of America. Having the backing of a world-class organization like the PGA has helped propel this event to the next level. In addition, both individual medalists receive automatic bids into the Junior PGA Championship later this month.