If they choose, junior golfers can tee it up in competition nearly every day this summer.
There is no shortage of tournaments on the schedule, a lineup that has increased this year close to home.
The Junior Golf Association of Northern California, which sanctions about 90 events per year, continues to be the area's kingpin. It's been in business since 1970 and still offers opportunities for golf growth for children from 7 to 17.
"A lot of the tournament dates clash. That's OK. Junior golf is alive and well," said Turlock's Shane Balfour, now in his third year as executive director of the JGANC. "The good thing is the kids are out of the house and away from the videos and are staying active and being around other kids."
Ripon's Andrew Bonner and Oakdale's Mabel Wong, the area's top junior players, have planned busy schedules. Wong won the JGANC girls points title in 2011.
The local calendar, featuring the annual outings such as the JGANC Match Play Championship at Spring Creek Country Club and the 60th Bumgardner Junior Memorial at Del Rio CC, is spiced by two additions.
The JGANC and The First Tee of the Central Valley have joined hands to put on a tournament on Saturday, June 2, at The First Tee's headquarters at Modesto Municipal. Two shotgun starts, one for the younger age groups in the morning and the second for the older entries, kick off the new event.
Another newcomer is the Matt Hansen Junior Classic, named after the former PGA Tour pro, Aug. 5-6 at Stevinson Ranch.
The circuit received a major boost last fall from Johnny Miller, who provided the JGANC's annual Tournament of Champions a new home at Silverado in Napa. Miller proved to be a generous and gracious host, and Silverado is an ideal season-closing venue.
Besides the JGANC, kids and teen-agers also can turn to the Junior Tour of Northern California. This is the Northern California Golf Association's entry into junior golf. It holds separate spring, summer and fall series events, with fall tournaments scheduled at Diablo Grande and Greenhorn Creek in Angels Camp.
Information on these junior tours is available at jganc.com and ncga.org.
Here are the upcoming local JGANC tournaments:
The inaugural First Tee of Central Valley Tournament, June 2 at Modesto Municipal.
The 35th JGANC Match Play Championship, June 11-14 at Spring Creek CC in Ripon.
The 60th Bumgardner Junior Memorial, July 2-3 at Del Rio CC.
The Oakdale Junior Rotary Classic, July 16 at Oakdale CC.
The George Maroney Junior Memorial, July 17-18 at Dryden Park and Creekside.
The inaugural Matt Hansen Junior Classic, Aug. 5-6 at Stevinson Ranch.
The Turlock CC Junior, Aug. 6-7 at Turlock CC.
THE SHAG BAG The 30th Modesto City Golf Championship will be contested June 9-10 at Dryden Park and Creekside. The championship flight will finish at Creekside this year, and entries are still available. Call 571-5123. ... Paul Speltz, a Minnesota native who's worked at golf clubs in Minnesota and Florida, has moved west to be the new head pro at Diablo Grande. He replaces the Clovis-raised Kasey Wallace, who now works at Copper River CC in Fresno. ...
John Vonhof celebrated his 65th birthday last week with a special flair 65 holes of golf at Jack Tone Golf in Ripon. He teed off at 6:30 a.m. and was finished before 2 p.m. Long golf days are no problem for Vonhof, a former ultra-marathon runner who took up the game after health issues forced him away from running.
HOLES-IN-ONE Marvin Bajema, Waterford, 174-yard 12th at Oakdale CC, 5-iron. ... Jim Hasson, Knights Ferry, 85-yard third at Jack Tone Golf, Ripon, pitching wedge.
Bee staff writer Ron Agostini can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2302.