Sign up has begun for JC Golf’s 10-week Junior Golf Tour, which starts Sept. 21 and is open to boys and girls ages 10 to 17.  Besides tournament experience, the tour presents weekly prize opportunities in the form of free golf rounds, with the grand prize for flight winners being free golf for an entire year.

The boys compete in age groups of 10-13 and 14-17, while the girls division is open.  While some of the competitors are experienced tournament players, program director Steve Lyons, Assistant Golf Professional/Tournament Coordinator at Oaks North, said some of the first players to sign up this year were tournament novices.

“For a lot of kids, this is their introduction into tournament golf, which is great because that’s what we’re looking for,” he said.

The experience is made fair for all, Lyons said, by the use of handicaps.

“We want to make it as level possible, so each player will get a handicap differential after the first event and then we’ll build their handicap from there,” he said. “We don’t wants to kids to stay away or be intimidated because they might be playing against players who are at a higher level. It’s tournament golf, yes, but we still want it to be fun.”

The weekly flight winners win a free round of golf at that week’s course. The grand prize winners are determined based on a points system that rewards both participation and performance, similar to the PGA Tour’s FedEx system, Lyons said.  Other participation incentives include opportunities to partake in things such as driver and putter fittings provided by TaylorMade Golf.

All the JC courses, save for Carmel Mountain Ranch, are used in the Sunday San Diego Golf tournament rotation, so the players get to experience a mix of regulation and executive courses.  Each week also presents a chance to gain tournament experience, which Lyons said is essential to securing a competitive future in the game.

“Tournament golf is whole new realm,” he said. “If you get exposed early, it does nothing but build confidence as you get older. And that can lead to being on a high school team and eventually a college team. This gives you that foundation.”  And Lyons also stressed that the tournaments provide a broad range of experience as players join the San Diego golf tour from all over San Diego County. And those are the players the game is depending on, he said.

“Golf needs kids not only playing, but playing competitively. Competition is what the game is all about.”

There’s a one-time registration fee of $30 to join the tour. Beyond that, it’s $35 for 18 holes.  For more information, you can contact Lyons directly at 858.487.3021, or  Below is this year’s tournament schedule.

Sept. 21 – Oaks North
Sept. 28 – Reidy Creek
Oct. 5 – Rancho Bernardo Inn
Oct. 12 – Encinitas Ranch
Oct. 19 – Reidy Creek
Oct. 26 – Oaks North
Nov. 2 – Encinitas Ranch
Nov. 9 – Temecula Creek Inn
Nov. 16 – Twin Oaks
Nov. 23 – Oaks North

Note: Consult for more information, such as registration and weekly tee times.