Tour filling summer void for area players
Opportunities for summer competition seem to be plentiful for many central Ohio athletes. Basketball players can travel the AAU circuit, football players can attend prospect camps and there are various leagues for baseball players.
Joel Glassburn, the boys golf coach at Olentangy High School, believes there aren't enough organized summer opportunities in his sport. To help fill that void - while generating additional exposure for area golfers - Glassburn and the Central Ohio Golf Academy run the Junior Championship Tour.
This summer's tour features four two-day, 36-hole tournaments, beginning July 9 and 10 at The Players Club at Foxfire. There also was an 18-hole pre-tour event June 18 at Oakhaven.
"There is a lack of (summer) golf tournaments for mid-range players around central Ohio," Glassburn said. "I want central Ohio to be known for the golfers they produce."
Now in its sixth year, the Junior Championship Tour has seen participation rise from 30 players the first year to more than 100 for each of this summer's events. The tour is open to male and female players, who are split into age groups of 13-15 and 16-19.
Glassburn attributes the growth to the quality of the courses. The tour has been able to schedule tournaments at sites that play host to Ohio Capital Conference regular-season matches and postseason tournaments.
"Our biggest success was that we got the OCC and sectional sites," he said. "These were the courses the players were playing on, and the main ones that they need to play."
After the opening event at The Players Club, this summer's tour schedule features tournaments July 16 and 17 at Granville Golf Course, July 24 and 25 at Apple Valley and July 30 and 31 at Darby Creek.
"The 36-hole tournaments were needed around central Ohio," Glassburn said. "Two days to play in competitive, OCC sites, it gets the players prepared for competition at high school."
After the final event, the tour honors Players of the Year based on their performances in all four tournaments. Last summer, David Monaco was the top player in the 16-19 age division.
He said the tour was a great way to play against the type of competition he would see during the high school season.
"A lot of the kids you play with are those you play in high school," he said. "You get to know your competition and you have to score pretty well to compete, so it's a good tour to play in."
As a senior last fall at Westerville North, Monaco shot a 76 during a Division I sectional tournament at Darby Creek to advance to district at Apple Valley. His district score of 79 was four strokes behind the final individual state qualifier.
"I think the tournament will definitely keep expanding, and that means more competition. With more competition, it should prepare me well for the season," said Monaco, who will be using this summer's tour to prepare for his freshman year at Otterbein University.
Glassburn hopes the tour can continue to provide area golfers with opportunities to improve their play for the school season in the fall.
"I'm just hoping to keep central Ohio golf amongst some of the strongest programs in the state," he said. "I want to continue to see the kids enjoy playing and get better and more competitive."