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Youth Golf Showing Signs of Popularity

Youth Golf Showing Signs of Popularity

The weather is getting warmer and the sun brighter, which can mean only one thing. Golf season is right around the corner.

With that in mind, the Southwest Junior Golf Tour may just what the doctor ordered for competitive young golfers looking to refine their skills and take their games to the next level.

The SWGT, 19 years in existence, offers several weekly tournaments throughout summer as the youth typically compete against top-notch competition. The tour is open for boys and girls against 9-18.

“We register approximately 200-220 kids each year, that’s quite a few families that have played golf with us and enjoyed competition,” said SWGT co-founder Dave Moskal, a Hinckley resident and PGA professional at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Strongsville. “A lot of kids who have graduated certainly check back with us and tell us how they’re doing. It’s kind of fun to see their progress.”

This isn’t your normal golf tour, however, as it’s more for the competitive golfer than the beginner. It’s an ideal opportunity for the high school player looking to compete in college.

“They should have some working knowledge of the rules of golf and have a great understanding of the game,” said Moskal. “Certainly this appeals to the high school player. The summer tournament series really helps these kids stay in touch with their game so by August, the tryouts are in full swing and by school they’re ready to play their matches.”

The schedule of events begins with the Joe Haase Cup at Firestone Country Club May 13, followed by tournaments in Avon, Valley City, Brunswick, Hinckley, Olmsted Township, Elyria, Brecksville and Medina.

The tournaments draw young golfers from all over the city.

“What’s nice is that they come from all the communities so they all know each other when they’re playing,” said Moskal. “It’s really a fun experience for them.”

Age divisions for girls are ages 9-12 (nine holes), 13-15 (18 holes) and 16-18 (18 holes). For the boys, 9-11 will play nine holes and the 12-13, 14-15 and 16-18 divisions compete in 18 holes.

New to the program this summer is the advent of the Satellite Tour, geared towards boys ages 9-11 and girls 9-12.

“At that age, even though they’ve played a few rounds and they show some skill, there’s a lot of room for improvement in all areas,” said Moskal. “We’re kind of grooming them for our regular tour down the line when they get up to the high school years.”

Moskal said the summer tournaments are well known around the golf community but the Hinckley resident wants to highlight the Satellite Tour.

“The word of mouth is out there amongst the high school players where to play during the summer. Our emphasis is that Satellite Tour, trying to get that younger set a little better educated and prepared for the competition that they’ll be involved in,” said Moskal. “Instead of just throwing them out on the golf course and hoping that they play, we want to have an educational component along with their competitive round so that they’re learning and they understanding the rules and etiquette.”

The other co-founder and SWGT director is Derek Smith, a Parma resident who is currently employed at Lakewood High School. Smith graduated from Brunswick High School in 1985 and coached the Holy Name boys golf team from 2009-11.

More information on the summer tours and registration information can be viewed


Contact Blake at

(216) 986-7536

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