Atlanta, GA … The world’s best young golfers will descend upon Pinehurst, North Carolina, for the 2009 World Championship and Teen World Championship. The two tournaments are expected to draw 1,700 total players from 35 countries and across six continents. Traveling with the young competitors will be approximately 5,000 of their friends and family. The result is economically stimulating to local business.
As the World Championship celebrates its 10th anniversary, President and founder of U.S. Kids Golf, Dan Van Horn, reflects upon all that makes a World Championship.
“What was kids golf without competition? It was fun but a bit lacking. I had a dream for kids golf to be just as organized and competition based as Little League, with all of the excitement and determination it took to get to the Little League World Series. And my dream has come true. Now, we have kids preparing all over the world, trying to raise their game to be the best. This event has become a celebration of young people, their families, and the friendships they have made. U.S. Kids Golf is very pleased to host, with Pinehurst, the tenth World Championship and immensely thankful to the more than 600 volunteers in this community that will make it a special event.”
The World Championship will be played from August 6th to August 8th, throughout the various courses in the Village of Pinehurst, including Pinehurst No. 3, No. 4, and No. 8, Little River, Mid Pines, Midland, Talamore, Longleaf, and the newest addition, golf’s best kept secret, Forest Creek.
This year’s Championship will continue existing traditions, as well as feature some new activities. There will be a hole-in-one challenge on the 19th hole, affectionately known as the “Hog Hole,” at Forest Creek on Tuesday, August 4th, and in the fashion of southern hospitality and display of a strong community, the Pinehurst Business Guild Members will host an Ice Cream social on the evening of August 6th in the Village of Pinehurst.
Perhaps the greatest highlight from last year’s World Championship, the Parade of Nations, is back for 2009. To kick off the tournament, all World Championship participants are invited to march in an Olympic-style parade through the Southern Pines Village. Each young golfer will walk behind their respective country or state flag, and the parade will end in the Southern Pines Community Park, where opening remarks will be made. The parade is expected to draw 5,000 people.
The World Championship will conclude on Sunday, August 9th, with the fourth annual U.S. Kids Golf World Cup. The top 12 year olds from the World Championship will tee it up in a U.S. vs. International competition on Pinehurst No. 2. The U.S. currently leads from the previous years, 3-0.
Golf and family interaction certainly takes center stage at the World Championship; however, it is the economy of the Sandhills area that is most pleased. According to a 2006 study conducted by the Pinehurst, Southern Pines, and Aberdeen area Convention & Visitors Bureau, the World Championship generated $3.9 million in its first year to the local lodging establishments, restaurants, golf, and non-golf related merchants. Since 2006, the World Championship has gained 770 additional players. With those 770 players and their family and friends visiting Pinehurst for an average of 5.76 nights, the local economy continues to enjoy the substantial boost.
New in 2006, and now in just its fourth year and second year at Pinehurst, the Teen World Championship will take place from July 30th – August 1st, and has nearly doubled in size from a year ago to a field of 465. The 13 year old boys will play Pinehurst No. 6, the 14 year old boys Pinehurst No. 8, and the 15-18 year old boys will battle it out on the legendary Pinehurst No. 2.
The field of 110 girls will play on Pine Needles, considered the home of women’s golf. This is the first year Pine Needles has opened their doors to either the Teen or the World Championship. Van Horn adds, “Pine Needles, host of three US Women’s Opens, is a great place for the girls competition in the Teen World Championship. The presence of Peggy Kirk Bell and history of women playing on this wonderful course will provide each player with a lifetime memory.”
The Teen World Championship will conclude with the Teen World Cup on Sunday, August 2nd. The Teen World Cup is a match play event where the top American boys and girls from each age group will play the top International boys and girls from their respective age groups. The Teen World Cup is played on Pinehurst No. 2.
About the U.S. Kids Golf Foundation
The U.S. Kids Golf Foundation is a 501 c (3) nonprofit organization that was established in 2001. The vision of the U.S. Kids Golf Foundation is to provide kids and their families the opportunity to participate in the game of golf through instruction and competition. All profits collected by the U.S. Kids Golf Foundation are allocated towards growing the game of golf through the expansion of competition. Currently, the U.S. Kids Golf Foundation conducts over 400 local, regional, national, and international events. To learn more, please visit www.uskidsgolf.com .