By: Greg Wise – Photos by Greg and Beverly Wise
Great things happen when you put your passion for golf to good use.
Long time Scotland resident and golf historian from “The Old Course,” Keith McColl, now living in The Villages, Florida, reconnected with long time friend, PGA Professional, Mark Panigoni in 2019 to create the Highlander Junior Tour.
The mission at Highlander Junior golf is “Providing opportunities for Florida’s Junior golfers to improve themselves through playing regular, affordable competitive golf at great venues close to home.”
Both Keith and Mark are strong in leadership and organizational skills.
“We believe passionately that golf is way more than just a game,” explained Keith, “Golf is a game of life, that teaches us from an early age, lesson that make us better adults.”
“By juniors playing competitively, they learn about honesty, integrity and respect for each other. Combine that with the overall connection of sportsmanship, being responsible for time management, creates an environment that expands their knowledge for life,” Mark commented.
Highlander Junior Tour offers junior golfers competition starting at the age of 6 with their “Wee Highlander” group that only play 9-hole events with shortened yardages, with the “Highlanders” group, from age 9 through the age of 18 .
The Highlander group has 3 playing categories; The Old Tom Morris Division for the older juniors with strong playing ability, The Young Tommy Morris Division for those Mid-Range ages, and The Bobby Jones Division for the younger golfers playing from the forward tees.
An advancement rule for all Highlander junior divisions is that if an individual player wins 3 metals in a season, they will advance into the Claret Jug Division, ultimately giving them a stronger competitive side, as well as giving the balance of those young people in that division the opportunity to excel.
The 2020 season for the Highlanders Junior Tour produced over 750 junior golf entries over the course of 40 events. The Highlander Junior Tour will be expanding their tournament offering to as many as 45 events in 2021 with the expectation of 1,000 junior players overall.
The Highlander Junior Tour is a golf development tour that recognized that at some stage of play all junior golfers, most likely must simultaneously log scores online and complete a normal course scorecard during competition play. Highlander Junior Tour has developed their own online scoring app but is not intended to replace the manual completion of a scorecard, yet it should only be used as an additional method of keeping score.
Parent are asked to download the app on their Smart Phones, and they can keep score for the younger kids, while the older players can track their own advancements and position on the app.
Check out their website at www.HighlanderJuniorTour.com.
If they are at a location near you and you would like to see some junior golfer serious about this great game… stop by and check out the Highlander Junior Tour, proving that The Game of Golf is in good hands for the future.
This story first appeared in this issue of Golf Central Magazine.
Photos on display were shot a the recent 2-day tournament at Eagle Ridge Golf Club at Spruce Creek Country Club. May 1 – 2, 2021.