LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The first annual Notah Begay Junior Golf National Championship is underway over at Koasati Pines this week.
Notah Begay and Ryan Burr joined forces with the same vision, to teach the next generation the game of golf.
That’s how the Notah Begay III Junior Golf National Championship was created. 24 preceding regional events led some of the nation’s top junior golfers to Koasati Pines in Kinder.
“Everyone starts at an even playing field. There’s no point system. If you want to try and play golf, we will accept you into our family,” co-creator of tournament Ryan Burr said.
“We’re seeing some of the best junior golfers out there across the country coming in and qualifying for this. So, we’re seeing the best of the best out there," founder of the Junior Golf Hub Roger Knick said.
And the tournament will have the exposure to match. It’s set to be the first-ever high school golf tournament that will air on a national network, the Golf Channel on December 9. Begay believes the opportunity should help the golfers get more attention on the college recruiting trail.
“For many of these coaches, this is a great chance to sit on their couch and see a lot of kids that will be graduating in a year, two years, four years, six years. So, hopefully, some of our kids will be able to make their shortlist of recruits,” said four-time PGA Tour champion Notah Begay III.
The three-day event includes golfers ages 10-17, all grateful for the experience and exposure.
“It’s very exciting," said 13-year-old golfer Chloe Chang. "It’s one of my first times playing in such a big event. I’m very excited because I’ve met so many people and made so many new friends.”
“I definitely want to play college golf. The team from the junior golf hub and the golf performance center is helping me move that way. Hopefully, I will be talking to some Division I colleges next summer,” said 16-year-old golfer Elias Kennon.
With a national tournament planted in Southwest Louisiana, it will continue to be a target for junior golfers across the nation to reach.
Ryan Burr: “Obviously, the goal is for everyone to get to Coushatta, that’s the destination now of junior golf around the country and soon to be around the world, people will know Coushatta as the place they want to get to in junior golf.”
Notah Begay III is well connected with the Native American community in Southwest Louisiana, which is ultimately what made Koasati Pines the final destination for junior golfers.
The tournament was November 15-17. The final round will be Tuesday, November 17.