What a difference a year makes.
Well, a year and a date change.
The Little Brown Jug Junior Golf Classic, after a one-year hiatus, is back. The most recent rendition, Saturday afternoon at Delaware’s Hidden Valley Golf Course, was a success.
“There are 65 kids out here age 7-17 and it looks like they’re having fun,” LBJ Junior Golf Classic Coordinator Ed Schlote said from the clubhouse. “Their parents are having fun … it’s just a great event.”
It’s a tourney that quite possibly wouldn’t have happened without a few changes, though, with the date at the top of that list.
“The events were usually held closer to the Little Brown Jug,” Schlote said. “The Saturday before the Horse Parade was the normal schedule, but we found over the years that participants changed because, once the high school golfers started in August, they weren’t eligible to play. So, those older kids — even middle schoolers — weren’t able to play.”
The move to early July solved that problem.
“I just want to thank Jim Jackson (Chairman Emeritus of the Little Brown Jug Junior Golf Classic), who passed away in February,” Dave Wilson, who has helped out with the event for more than a decade, said. “He did a great job saving this event 20 some years ago.
“We didn’t have it last year because of lack of participation — the kids just weren’t playing — but we changed the date and the kids can play, and that’s what it’s all about. I’m sure Jim is looking down and smiling right now.”
The golfers were certainly smiling out on the course. First-time competitor Madison Bricker, a 13-year-old student at Delaware’s Dempsey Middle School, said she had a great time.
“It’s a pretty cool event,” she said. “It’s very laid back and I like how it’s a pretty easy course and you can just play. It’s also nice because I’m doing tryouts in a week or so, so it’s nice to get back to the game. I’d definitely do it again.”
Anything that’s lasted 42 years takes a lot of work to sustain … and Saturday’s showcase was no exception. Scholte said it wouldn’t have come together without the help of Hidden Valley Golf Course and the Kiwanis Club of Delaware, Noon Club — the primary sponsor.
“The golf course was donated by the City of Delaware and they did a great job getting it ready for today,” he said. “And the Kiwanis Club picked this up as a sponsorship. They’re about community service and serving the children of the world, and this is certainly part of that.”
The youth tournament featured divisions broken down by age and gender. Boys and girls groups included kids 7-8 years old, 9-10, 11-13 and 14-17. A list of divisional winners will be published with a group shot of all the participants later this week.
Follow Ben Stroup on Twitter @delgazette_ben.