When the final tournament of the Tee Off Junior Golf League kicks off tonight, it will mark the beginning of the end of the first summer of the league at Stonetree Golf Club.
But even with one last Monday on the schedule — in which the players will enjoy barbecue and a chip, drive and putt competition — its creators are already deeming the league a success.
“We’ve only heard good things,” said Jeff Achee, athletic coordinator for the city of Harker Heights. “Coaches seem to be having fun, kids are having a great time.
“The biggest thing that we’ve heard is that the kids who do know how to play, the kids who have competed before, are getting better,” he continued. “Their scores are going down, what they’re doing in practice is getting more complex.
“It’s just getting better.”
Four weeks ago, the Champions division held its first tournament followed by the Junior division a week later.
Each division has played in one tournament since, with the division not playing that particular day practicing instead.
In that short period of time, Achee said he and the rest of the staff have seen vast improvement in both divisions and have even had to move players from the Junior division up to the Champions.
But one of the accomplishments they are most proud of is the players in the Junior division having already learned the etiquette of the game.
“These coaches have said that now when they’re on the course, all they have to do is give feedback on play,” Achee said. “These kids just know what to do on the course now. They’ve got the etiquette down, which was definitely far and beyond our goal for the first year because they did that halfway through the season.”
Today, the Juniors will compete on the front nine while the Champions compete on the back nine — the first time the two divisions will compete simultaneously.
And while there are still two weeks left before the league is done for the summer, Achee and the rest of the staff believe it is already safe to call it a victory.
“It’s definitely going great, and it’s definitely not over yet,” Achee said, “but we’re looking at calling it a success.”