Justin Henry

Justin Henry, PGA Professional at Wild Horse, assists a young golfer during the 2019 Wild Horse Youth Camp. This year, Tony Collins has brought the PGA Junior League to Wild Horse, allowing young golfers to gain instruction and experience in the sport. 

Wild Horse Golf Club has a little something new for the littlest golfers in town.

This year, Director of Golf Operations Tony Collins has initiated a PGA Junior League at Wild Horse for a simple reason: to allow young golfers to have an experience he never had.

“I have been involved with PGA Junior League since 2015,” Collins said. “I worked with the program in both Texas and Oklahoma. I love the program and I wish it was something I had when I was young.”

At its core, the program stands for safety, care and organization, also known as the Three Flags.

Using that foundation, coaches work with young golfers to help them learn the game through safe practices in an inclusive, fun and supportive way that prepares those athletes for competition.

PGA and LPGA Professionals serve as captains for the teams and are in charge of fostering an environment that is welcoming for anyone who wishes to participate, no matter their experience, in order to encourage skill and character development.

“It is an eight-week program with four practices followed by four nine-hole matches,” Collins explained. “We have 20 kids, so we will divide them into two groups on match play days where they will play a two-person scramble. They will compete for flags and each match will have an opportunity to win three flags within that nine hole match.”

In short, within each game, players compete against one another in head-to-head matches in flag-style play.

This means that within the game, coaches designate pairs that will compete against one another three holes at a time.

Teams earn points at the end of each flag round.

The young golfers will receive instruction in one and one-half hour intervals for four weeks and then take on the course in the scramble-format games.

As is traditional with any round of golf, the team with the lowest score per hole wins that hole.

The team that wins the most holes in a flag wins that flag and is assigned a point.

The team that has the most points at the end of the game is determined to be the winner. Scores accumulate throughout the season - regardless of win or loss.

Collins said that there was much to learn for the youngsters that take part in the program, but the goals of the program align with all of the junior programming at Wild Horse.

“We want the kids to achieve three things,” Collins said. “First, to have fun. Second, to learn the game of golf. And finally, take home valuable life lessons they can keep with them for years.”

There are many lessons that the game teaches, including responsibility, discipline and honesty while encouraging quiet time, emotional control and patience.

The Junior PGA League is just getting started and there is still room for your young golfer to participate.

“We'd love kids to join us now,” Collins said.

If your child is interested in participating, contact Collins directly at tony@playwildhorse.com or call out to the course at 308-537-7700.

Contact Rebecca Steward at rebecca@gothenburgleader.com or call 308.537.9498