NCJGT President Michael Lucas is the driving force behind the formation of the new tour. Lucas said the reason he created the event is to provide an opportunity for young golfers to get the practice and experience they will need in order to be a part of golf at the collegiate level.
"The reason I put this together is that high school and middle school golf teams only play nine-hole events. To be nationally ranked, you have to play in 36-hole events," he explained. "College golf coaches look for national rankings."
The year round tour will hold events throughout the area for boys and girls ages 9 to 18. Golfers will be able to sign up for either 18- or 36-hole events.
Part of the impetus for creating the golf tour, Lucas said, was in recreating a program he had while he was growing up in Santa Barbara.
"I grew up with this great golf program and access to all these amazing courses, and I grew up thinking that was the norm," he said.
Now an adult with three daughters, ages 5 to 9, he wants to create something similar here for his children to enjoy. "This is the passion I've always had and that's now been implemented."
The tour will primarily go to public golf courses during the school year, but over the summer break they will hold events at some of the premier clubs in the area including Crow Canyon Country Club, Stone Tree Golf Club and the Wente Vineyard Golf Club.
Events will cost the young golfers an average of $80-$100 to enter. Lucas said he is working to keep the costs down and make the tour as affordable as possible in order to get as many kids involved as he can.
"Our first event we had 30 golfers. I would like to see up around 70 as we continue to grow," he stated.
Lucas said his long range hope is that by providing East Bay golfers with more options for junior tours he might see more of them making it into the pros.
"My ultimate goal is I want to see more kids from Northern California on the PGA tour. Right now you don't see a lot of tour pros coming from Northern California."