Dear Junior Golf Player’s Club Parents
The reason for sharing this article with you, which today is being shared on several Junior Golf platforms, is to bring awareness to an issue that developed very innocently in 2020 due to Covid-19; but now has continued in 2021. We, the contributors to this article feel parents need to be made aware of this issue, and ask that they join us in helping to modify the current criteria for ranking tournaments on Junior Golf Scoreboard.
We feel you will be both appreciative that we brought this issue to your attention, and disturbed to find out this is happening. After you read the below article we hope you will help us to re-shape the criteria used for ranking junior tournaments.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article and your consideration about its broader implications to the junior golfer community.
Gaming the system
Last year the world was introduced to the Varsity Blues Scandal; wealthy parents used coercive tactics in college admissions. This included some parents making phony resumes for sports that their children didn’t even play. In other examples, they paid someone to take the SAT to get an inflated score. In both cases the parents were eventually discovered. It was the biggest scandal in College Admissions history and even resulted in some notable people going to jail. We ask you, would it be any different if a junior golfer was given a spot on a college golf roster, (and in some cases with an athletic scholarship), by playing their academy’s practice course against small numbers of their friends from their school, and having those results posted on Junior Golf Scoreboard (JGS)?
We first learned of this situation when one of the undersigned was sent the following results and a series of question marks after them from a friend in junior golf:
It took him a while but he eventually figured out what was being shown to him: this player played the exact same yardage for 38 competitive rounds! Weird. As he looked into it further, he realized that despite the tournaments having different names, they were all played on the same golf course. What’s more, this is a 10 green/18 tee box golf course, designed primarily to be a practice facility at a junior golf academy, not a championship course like the one directly across the street. And the events had as few as six players in the field, with few, if any players who don’t attend the academy.
Since many of these tournaments were played in 2020, one could blame Covid-19. The disease made the world a scary place. No one wants anyone to get sick or infect anyone. As such, the academy would want to find a safe way for their kids to play. But does safety allow them to fundamentally change the very definition of tournament golf? Should these events count the same as events other juniors played in? JGS has said, yes, they do count. JGS has certified all the results and continues to do so, as recently as this past weekend.
Let us be clear, JGS reserves the right to certify whatever results they want; they are a private business. But one has to question the integrity and transparency; letting 2 different types of tournaments occur and calling them the same. Is that fair? Is that what we should come to expect in junior golf? We think our kids deserve better. While Junior Golf Scoreboard has historically provided an important ranking service to coaches and players in the world of junior golf, some might argue, based on the above information, that their system is broken, or worse.
After he was alerted to the situation, he polled a number of people in the world of junior golf and college golf. His question was simple, was this fair? 100% of everyone polled from players to parents to college coaches to teaching professionals think that what is happening is wrong. Their logic: 99.99% of the rounds that junior golfers are posting on Junior Golf Scoreboard come from playing under normal tournament conditions, which include a traditional 18-hole golf course, random players, large fields and a travel component. All of these factors test different skills. Skills players need for college golf and beyond. Skills that are part of tournament golf for everyone, everyone except this group of academy players who unknowingly are gaming the system.
Now that you know, what’s your perspective? Should the scores from what some say really amount to intramural events be counted alongside yours? Is this transparent and fair? Is it any different than Varsity Blues? It’s really a matter of perspective. However, until now, you probably did not know. Now that you do, you have to consider, is this the world of Junior Golf we want?
In continued dialogue to resolve the issue without publishing an article, these solutions have been presented to both the Academy and JGS. Despite continuing to run such events, the academy owner has agreed that limiting the posting of such events to 4 per year, could be a solution. Excited by a possible resolution, this compromise was taken to Mac Thayer of JGS. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, nothing was done.
Having exhausted the possibility of resolution directly with JGS, without any other recourse, we have decided to put this issue to the people: do you think this is fair? We hope that our collaborative voices will send a clear message to JGS: we expect transparency and want the rankings to be fair.
In order to be part of the solution, with feedback from other leaders in Junior Golf, a petition has been started which asks JGS to make changes to the system. After reviewing the situation with other experts in junior golf, we concluded that up to 4 scores should stand from these unique events. We also ask that JGS adopt a strict policy which discourages people from either hosting or participating in multiple events on either non-traditional 9-hole golf courses, their home course, or both.
Thank you for reading this and clicking here to sign our petition
The Junior Golf Community, and James Hong, Brendan Ryan, Rich Roberts, and Ryan Dailey, P.G.A.