All across the United States, we have faced closures and cancellations of beloved, nationally renowned events. We are very sad to say that the American Junior Gold Association Kansas Junior, held annually at Buffalo Dunes in beautiful Garden City will be one of those events.
And while we are sad to see this year’s tour shuttered, we are ready and rearing for the return of this fantastic event in 2021.
So while we are all doing our best to stay safe, we thought it might be fun to take a look at the tournament itself, why it is so special, and why Buffalo Dunes makes the perfect, challenging course for these talented youngsters.
Buffalo Dunes presents a unique challenge, not just for the young golfers participating in the AJGA tournament, but for everyone who tests their mettle on its fairways.
The total yardage of the course is 6,806 yards. The course rating is 72.5 with a course slope rating of 124 on Bluegrass. If you’re not familiar with the US Golf Association’s gold course ratings, suffice to say that Buffalo Dunes is tricky course to master. Why is it tricky? Tight fairways, rolling greens, a fair bit of wind risk. And yet, as golfers get to know the course, they also find that teeing off from the yellow can make this course more casual and approachable as well.
You can have the most beautiful golf course in the world, but if the landscaping is off, it’s all for nothing. Thankfully, the staff in charge of the greens, roughs, fairways, and tee boxes at Buffalo Dunes are second to none.
There is good reason this municipal golf course is on so many golfers’ bucket lists, and it ain’t the snack bar.
The staff here is as obsessive about the grounds as golfers are about their game. That means that every time a golfer visits Buffalo Dunes, they can expect to see the very best in course maintenance.
The American Junior Golf Association
While the PGA has the professional golfers’ market neatly locked down, for Juniors, the American Junior Golf Association reigns supreme. That means there will be big stakes at Buffalo Dunes.
The AJGA is a nonprofit organization and has been around since 1978. Their primary goal is to help talented young golfers earn college scholarships, which may afford them opportunities they may otherwise not be able to enjoy. They accomplish this goal by hosting more than 100 events a year (including qualifiers) designed to showcase young talent and provide them a platform upon which they might strut their stuff.
Players come not only from across the United States, but from more than 70 countries worldwide. Alumni include Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Cristie Kerr, and Paula Creamer.
Most of the golfers who regularly compete on the AJGA circuit go on to play at the college level, many on scholarships which would would have been difficult to procure without the opportunities provided by the AJGA.
How to Join
If you know a youngster who can drive like the devil and putt to perfection, you might be interested in helping them sign up for the AJGA tour!
Since the organization was founded in the 1970’s, hundreds of youth have found access and opportunity they might otherwise not have had.
Many young players, if they’ve shown remarkable skill at the game, will have earned PBE (performance based entry) status. They earn this through their performance in state, regional, and national level tournament play.
If they haven’t earned any PBE, they can still earn some in open entry tournaments (however, it is very important to be realistic about skill levels).
More than golf, the Junior Tournament provides many opportunities to have a great time out on the links. There will be participatory practice rounds, access to putting greens and driving ranges, as well as spectator viewing areas, cart access, and after round barbecues.
This isn’t the first time this tour has made a stop in Garden City, and we are certain it will not be the last.
Several Garden City hotels will be playing host to the golfers and accompanying entourage. Clarion Inn, Sleep Inn and Suites, and The Heritage Inn and Suites have all served as official tournament housing. However, it is expected that some of the group will seek out accommodation on their own.
Whatever they decide, in 2021, we’re sure golfers and their families will find Garden City a perfect, accommodating tour stop, with plenty of shops, restaurants, and activities to suit any need. So whether they come in first, fourth, or fortieth, they’ll be happy they spent time in Garden City.