Do you remember the first time you had a golf club placed in your hands, the first time you competed against your dad or maybe a sibling, the first time you played in a tournament?
The Portage County Kids Amateur encourages youth golfers competing in their first golf tournament or seeking to enhance their beginning skills and rules knowledge to compete.
Growing each year since the first event at the now-closed Kent State University Golf Course, the event this season was again held at Sunny Hill Golf Course in Brimfield on holes 19 thru 27.
Junior golfers from four counties and as far away as Mansfield competed in age groups by grade: 3rd and under, 4th and 5th, 6th and 7th as well as 8th and 9th.
The 30 youth played four holes, six holes or nine holes. Each golfer was expected to register themselves, keep their own scorecard and report to the scoring table at the end of their round.
The tournament was started as a natural end to the season for the Kent junior clinics organized by Bryan Harvey and Larry Picicco, Kent Roosevelt girls golf coaches.
Six years ago, Harvey and Picicco wanted the golfers to be a part of the series of Portage County Amateurs and the Kids Am was born.
Since then more than 150 youth golfers have competed in the Kids Am as a fun event and a learning experience.
The winner in each division receives a medal but everyone earns a certificate. This season, each golfer also received a free round of miniature golf at Birdie Shack in Kent and an ice cream sandwich.
The goals of the event are to find the joy in golf while honing skills along the way. A member of the Kent Roosevelt varsity girls team walks with each group of girls to doublecheck scores and parents and grandparents follow at a safe distance from the golfers and each other.
This is the way golf should be. Parents cheering every shot whether it travels 100 yard or three feet. Golfers playing golf for the pure joy of the game.
GRADE DIVISION WINNERS:
Grades 8 and 9 girls: Maddie Kost and Ashlyn Leavery, both of Kent;
Boys 8 and 9: James Morgan of North Benton (a 7th grader playing up);
Grades 6 and 7 girls: Adrianna Mineo of Kent;
Grades 6 and 7 boys: Tommy Kaschak, Kent;
Grades 4 and 5 girls: Samantha Morgan, North Benton;
Grades 4 and 5 boys: Luke Beatty, Kent (pictured above);
Grades 3 and under: Cord Walchalk, Brimfield.
GRADES 8 & 9
GIRLS _ Maddie Kost, Kent; Ashlyn Leavery, Kent; Anna Picicco, Kent; Gabby Melin, Kent; Cassidy Singer, Kent; Lydia Kaschak, Kent; Izzy Wood, Kent.
BOYS _ James Morgan, North Benton; Christian Mineo, Kent; Rowan Baynes, Kent.
GRADES 6 & 7
GIRLS _ Adrianna Mineo, Kent; Gianna Yanelli, Kent; Katie Ennemoser, Ravenna; Jennie Mix, Diamond; Riley Bardella, Kent.
BOYS _ Tommy Kaschak, Kent
GRADES 4 & 5
GIRLS _ Samantha Morgan, North Benton; Jennifer Mix, Diamond; Myah Barlow, Kent; Brooke Beatty, Kent; Lana Hammelman, Kent; Colbie Kruger, Kent; Delilah Reinhard, Kent.
BOYS _ Luke Beatty, Kent; Nathan Kinter, Rootstown; Mason Dillon, Rootstown; Declan Thomas, Mansfield.
GRADES 3 & Under
BOYS _ Cord Walchalk, Brimfield