The Southern Nevada Junior Golf Association (SNJGA) is working on a plan that will put junior golf into an even brighter spotlight and also help high school playoff events run more smoothly. The plan is simple: The SNJGA is going to step in to help run state golf tournaments held in the South in an effort to showcase the area’s top junior golfers and provide the best experience possible. –by Bill Bowman, Las Vegas Golf Insider
In making this commitment to run the state tournaments, the SNJGA is hoping their efforts will entice more top-ranked players to stay around Las Vegas and tee it up in SNJGA events. But the leadership also wants to give the student athletes a high-level championship will also taking some of the burden off of the coaches.
The first step in this experiment will be the girls 5A state tournament Oct. 11-12 at Mountain Falls Golf Club.
“From the SNJGA standpoint, we’re going to be paying for tee times and treating it just like one of our events,” said Joe Sawaia, who has been with the SNJGA for just over a year as tournament director. “With the generosity of the courses donating the tee times, the state events were at the mercy of the times the courses could give the events.”
Now, with the SNJGA working on getting donations to help pay for staff and tee times, the events can be held at better times.
Sawaia said the girls 5A state tournament, which will be held Oct. 11-12 at Mountain Falls, will be the perfect trial as there will be just 10 teams from the south taking part.
“The staff at the SNJGA will run the event and we will follow all of the state guidelines,” Sawaia said. “This will free up the coaches to coach and not worry about the event itself. We will see how things go and see how it works. We’ll get feedback from the coaches and parents and see how we can improve the events.”
There is also a plan to do the boys state 5A event in the spring and gather more information and determine what is next in the game plan.
Another part of this plan includes getting more and more top junior players to also take part in SNJGA events.
“We’re hoping parents and players see there is more enticement for them to stay around and play in SNJGA events when they can,” Sawaia said. “We know it’s important for them to travel to bigger events, whether it is California, Arizona, Utah or somewhere else. But we would like to get stronger fields here to showcase Las Vegas golf. We’ve made strides there, but we’re still looking to make the SNJGA events attractive to more and more players.”
Sawaia, who spent 21 years coaching the boys and girls golf teams at Coronado High School before coming to the SNJGA, said the bottom line is getting the word out about the association.
“We’re hoping more players, parents and golf courses see the SNJGA and this plan as a positive step forward,” Sawaia said. “When a course commits to an event, they will be getting revenue from the spectator carts, from food and beverage, from practice rounds and the cost of tee times. For the parents and players, we’re looking at more exposure for the kids. We think everyone’s going to benefit from this plan.”
For more information on the SNJGA, go to visit SouthernNevadaJuniorGolf.com