This past weekend, the Canadian Junior Golf Association hosted the David Hearn Kia Championship at Rockway Vineyards in St. Catharines. The tournament, which was the conclusion of the five-part David Hearn Junior Series hosted in association with David Hearn and Kia Canada, featured golfers from all across the country. The field consisted of winners from the five previous David Hearn Junior Series events, along with 70 other junior golfers. The competitors were split into four divisions; Boys U15, Boys U19, Girls U15 and Girls U19.
In addition to the tournament itself, the golfers were also treated to an appearance by PGA professional David Hearn, who was there to chat with players, host a golf clinic, and watch some of the action. At the conclusion of the event, Hearn was there to hand out awards to the winners as well as take pictures and sign autographs for all participants.
Much like any sporting event, it would not have been successful without the help of organizers and volunteers. This event had a lot of influence from both current and former Brock University students, some whom have been working with the Canadian Junior Golf Association all summer. For two Sport Management students, they found that their experience in the classroom had prepared them for work in the sport industry.
However, it’s more than just the course material that has prepared students to make an impact in sport.
“The profs really stress that sport management is not a 9-5 job, it’s a lot of early mornings and late nights. Those are the some of the tips and tricks that profs have given that prepare you for the reality of working in sport,” was the response from Miranda Ball when asked about what she’s learned from Sport Management that has helped her the most up to this point.
Another point that many Sport Management professors emphasize from the beginning of the program is the importance of networking, and for the students involved with the Canadian Junior Golf Association, this job has given them the chance to make many connections not only within the Canadian Junior Golf Association, but also with organizations such as Golf Ontario.
When talking to David Hearn, he had nothing but positive things to say about the work that volunteers do, saying “volunteers are huge in everything we do in pro golf. On average, every event on tour has about 1500 volunteers, so we wouldn’t be able to play the events we do without the support of volunteers.”
Not only are volunteers important to pro golf, but also at the junior level where they are relied upon even more for events to run smoothly.
“We just can’t thank them enough for everything they do, it’s truly incredible,” said Hearn once again to reiterate the importance of volunteers for junior golf, and specifically with the David Hearn Junior Series.
Hearn also said that tournaments such as this are not only a chance to develop high-end talent, but also a chance for the young players to have fun.
“The high-end talent is obviously great to see, but I also feel it is important to give junior players as much opportunity as possible. Being able to play in a competitive environment is so important to developing into a great golfer,” said Hearn. “But if you’re not going to end up being a great golfer, it’s a great way to make friends and spend some of your younger years while going through school.”
As for the future of Canadian golf, Hearn has high hopes for what is to come. “There are a lot of really good golfers coming up through the ranks, and three different Canadians have won tournaments over the last few years.” When asked about what the future of golf in Canada looks like, he was quick to give credit to Mike Weir. As a golfer, he provided a good example for a lot of Canadians, and is a big part of the reason why golf is on the rise in Canada today.
-Cameron Burgess, Assistant Sports & Health Editor