By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin
---- — ANDERSON — The members of the Madison County Junior Golf Tour are hitting the summer home stretch this week with three rounds in two different events.
The tour stopped Wednesday at Grandview Golf Course for a one-day tournament. Today and Friday, the golfers will play for two days at The Edge.
"Unfortunately, some courses want us to play later in the day," said MCJGT director Kendall Stalnaker. "I have no problem with that. Edgewood allowed us to play a two-day event. That's great for us. It gives the players a chance to bounce back if they have an off day."
Wednesday's round was threatened by weather for about 10 minutes, but the golfers played through it.
"We heard some thunder, but it was past us," said Stalnaker. "I went out and told each one of the groups what I saw on the radar and told them it would go through and then it would clear up. We had no problems."
The junior golf program was in danger of falling off the summer schedule a few years back, but Stalnaker helped to keep the tournaments running.
"We have about the same number of golfers as we had last year," said Stalnaker, but he admitted that the makeup is a bit different. "We don't have as many high schoolers. But we have a lot of intermediate and younger kids."
The MCJGT is a solid opportunity for young golfers to become immersed in the tournament experience.
"It costs a bit less than some other tours ($200 compared to $12), and you don't have an hour drive to get there," said Stalnaker. "There's not as much pressure. It's less demanding and more fun. We try to group people together by their skill level. We always want everyone to be able to play, even if they are just starting out.
"We want to teach people the rules and the etiquette of the sport. We want the players to maintain friendship throughout the round. We don't want players to take it out on their partners if they hit a bad shot or have a bad hole. We want them to help find one another's ball and help one another with yardage."
After the two-day visit to The Edge, there's just one event remaining, July 15 at Meadowbrook Golf Course.
"We have a banquet there — a pizza party," said Stalnaker. "We give out the tour awards there. Everyone gets a medal or a ribbon at every event."