VIRGINIA — Youth golfers will once again take to the Virginia Golf Course this Wednesday for the 21st Annual John Urick Memorial Junior Golf Tournament.
While everyone comes out a winner, top finishers can expect some great prizes as well as bragging rights for the next year.
With 70 players signed up as of Friday afternoon, tournament organizer Steve Giorgi hopes that number will increase prior to the tournament on Wednesday.
“It’s a typical Iron Range thing for the registration to be slow,” Giorgi said. “Last year we ended with 75 players so we’re optimistic that between now and Wednesday with a few walk-ins that we might see more than 80 people.”
Getting things underway early on the day of competition, the tournament will have different events such as putting and chipping contests beginning at 9 a.m. along with tee times for the first few groups. Giorgi and his team plan to put together preliminary tee times soon, but walk-ins and no shows may affect those times.
“That stuff happens when you’re running an event like this. But we plan on getting them out there running at 9 a.m. and hopefully everyone has something to do whether it be their round of golf or a fun contest.”
Up this year is the number of golfers participating in the aged 10 and under group. While that may present it’s own challenges, Giorgi is pleased to see strong turnout among the youngest group.
“Right now our largest group is the 10 and under kids. That can be a challenge for the young ones because it’s hard to get there and golf on a regular basis. But it’s good that they get exposed to the game and that they have fun and want to come back.
“We want to instill that love of the game of golf in them. It’s a lifetime activity so it’s never a bad time to take it up.”
In it’s 21st year, the Urick Memorial will continue to help honor and remember the memory of John Urick. Urick was a steadfast teacher of the game of golf and also worked as the head golf pro at the Virginia course during the summer months.
Urick’s passion involved giving kids the opportunity to play golf. Not only a teacher of the game, Urick would go as far as finding kids clubs, golf balls and even shoes if they needed it. The tournament will continue to honor his memory as one of the biggest golf advocates on the Range.
While Giorgi says participation amongst the girls is down overall this year, most of the best high school golfers in the region are set to participate in the girls’ event. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the boys’ side.
“That’s our biggest disappointment for sure right now,” Giorgi said. “As of Thursday we only had one 17-year-old boy participating. We allow graduating seniors to play so I’m not sure why the good golfers from our area aren’t coming out to play.”
With sign ups open until the day of the event, Giorgi hopes some more high school golfers will show up on the boys’ side.
“It’s a great day with a good payout and the chance to win some good prizes. With great contributions from our sponsors, we can assure that every player that participates will be awarded a significant prize from the Virginia Pro Shop. Flight winners will also get a free round at Fortune Bay or Giants Ridge. It’s a pretty special added bonus.”
Registration is just $10 and includes the full round of golf, a barbecue lunch and T-shirts for all participants. Viking Coca-Cola and Super One Foods are providing the drinks and food for the barbecue.
“For $10, it’s a pretty good day of activity and fun.”
Anyone still looking to register should do so by Monday to help speed up the tee time schedule, but players can still sign up even through Wednesday. Flights are tentatively split into these groups: 10 and under, 11-12, 13-14, 15-16 and 17 through graduating seniors. For more information and to register, those interested can call the clubhouse at 218-748-7530.