This will be the first year since 2018 that we will not be competing in the US Kids World Championship as both Zac and Zabe have aged out of the 12 and under competition. The World Championship requires a golfer to qualify in order to compete and is an event that junior golf families start preparing for, sometimes as much as 12 months, in advance: the path to qualifying, booking accommodations, who the competition might be, and trying to beat your ranking from the year before all play a part of this family adventure. Working day by day to just be a little better. There are so many remarkably talented kids as young as the 6 and under division, from all over the world, competing on many different golf courses throughout the Pinehurst area during that first week in August. It is usually hot, humid, and there can be rain (hard rain at times). The elements always factor in sooner or later during the 3 days of intense competition.

I can’t really imagine our lives without the US Kids local, regional, and world competitions. All the destinations and golf courses it has taken us to in order to compete and qualify. All the lessons we have learned about each other as a family. Our family vacations were, in many ways for many years, US Kids Golf Tournaments together and the challenge and efforts of trying to qualify for this one week of competition in the golf mecca called Pinehurst.

Way before Zac and Zabe were even born, Jeff and I had traveled to Pinehurst nearly 20 years ago to visit and it just happened to be during the US Kids World Championships. We said to each other then that we would one day be back to Pinehurst, called “The Cradle of Golf” because it is considered the home, or cradle, of American golf. In 2018 we purchased a place and started making it our home too.

As anyone who plays golf knows, there are always struggles in nearly every round and sometimes most of the round is a struggle, if not all 18 holes. And, as many people also know, golf will show you where your strengths are and were there is work to be done. I’ve spoken with a lot of parents over our years in junior golf and all of them know “that feeling” when your child is not playing well or sometimes even when they are and you are just waiting…hoping… yes, it will even have you praying to finish the round without too much tragedy. No parent wants their child to suffer or struggle. But this is golf. And being junior golfers, just kids, they will show their weaknesses out there. They may even behave in a way you just simply wished they hadn’t. My husband says that “junior golf is where kids develop character…it’s when they become adults that their character is revealed!” So…hang in there, every now and then there will be a moment, even if it seems too short, that you will see something great, honorable, big, even if its just a glimpse of it. Hold on to it. Memorialize it. Bring it with you the following year when you qualify again and create more of those moments. Get better. Even if that “better” is something only you and your child know is there…hold onto that. That is part of your legacy to your child. That is the hope and strength, as a family, that you can remind each other of when the going gets tough next time. And it will, that’s golf…and life.

If your family is fortunate enough to compete in a World Championship try and remember to go slow and enjoy the moments…as many of those precious moments as you can. That special week in August will truly become a memory of a lifetime. Some of the families you meet will more than likely become friends for the rest of your life, sharing this bond of watching your children grow together. Some of the players will go on to the highest levels of golf. Most won’t. But all will know what it’s like to stand in that world arena of junior golf and face the challenges. And, one thing I can promise, it will be a challenge. I would love nothing more than to be able to watch all of these fascinating family journeys together… if I had the time.

We will miss those days of the kids being, well, kids in golf. What a sport, what a game. Thank you Van Horn family and US Kids Golf, it has truly been an honor.

And we will keep you posted on what the Teen World Championship (13 – 18 Year Old) brings during our participation the last week of July. For the first time, both boys will be competing in it this year…at home…in Pinehurst!

#pinehurst #uskidsgolf #uskidsgolfworldchampionship

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Lisa Dalton

    What a lovely blog! Thanks for sharing this heartfelt review filled with good advice and insights.

  2. LaurA

    Oh my goodness! I cannot believe that you all live in Pinehurst. Ysreen, we have been going to camp at Pine Needles for 7 years. Literally one of our favorite places ! Please let’s reconnect! I would love to see you next time we are there!

    Laura Mentgen

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