The Lambton Jr. Golf Tour has officially put a stamp on its inaugural season and organizers are looking ahead to future possibilities.
The Sarnia Minor Athletic Association (S.M.A.A.) Lambton Jr. Golf Tour officially kicked off with its first tournament in May with the spring combine, and the final championship tournament was recently held on September 10 (results can be found below).
Dr. Michael Rocca said the inaugural season was a "resounding success" as they surpassed their goal with 63 registrants and secured corporate sponsorship.
The tour was also recognized by the Golf Association of Ontario, as it's now listed among other junior golf tours across the province.
"That allows us to attract players to play in competitive events [and] gain ranking points, which is important for them to move along and progress their competitive ambitions so that they can actually qualify for events of larger stature," Rocca said.
Rocca said the tour's recognition was also a major accomplishment for organizers to achieve within the first year. "But the most important measure of success was seeing the smiles on the kids' faces, them having fun, and getting positive feedback from the parents," he said. "That, more than anything else, is what the tour's all about. I've said it several times, we may be the organizers of the tour but ultimately this tour belongs to the local junior golf community."
In addition to offering competitive opportunities to young golf players, Rocca said the tour also serves to introduce the sport to local youth via an instructional path.
Moving forward, the non-profit organization hopes to introduce the sport to more female players.
"We want to see more participation by girls," said Rocca. "They were vastly underrepresented this year and of the 63 registrants we only had six. So we want to try to make that push to get girls involved in the sport, the instructional path may be the way to introduce them."
The organizing committee will have a debriefing meeting soon to go over future goals and opportunities. This year's tour was supported by three area golf courses: Huron Oaks Golf Course, Indian Hills Golf Club, and St. Clair Parkway Golf Course. Rocca said in the future, they would like to expand by including additional courses.
The organizing committee will also discuss whether or not to start the 2024 season earlier than the end of May so their final championship date doesn't conflict with hockey commitments.
S.M.A.A Lambton Jr. Golf Tour season division champions (first place) are listed below.
Senior Boys: Tyler Coene with 63 points Intermediate Boys: Noah Olver with 140 points Intermediate Girls: Sofia Rocca with 16 points
Junior Boys: Isaac Kennette with 38 points Junior Girls: Vivian Callander with 6 points
A breakdown of points and full results of the fourth tournament can be found on the organization's website.