Golf plays a big role in Sabrina Esterline’s life, but she probably didn’t realize how big until two years ago.
“My three boys were watching Tom Lehman’s son play, and my 5-year-old became enamored,” she said. “He told me, ‘I really want to play in a golf tournament.’ ”
Esterline began to do some research.
What she found was the U.S. Kids Golf Foundation, which conducts tournaments for boys and girls ages 5-14 in nearly 30 states.
At the time, the closest tournaments were in Kansas City and Tulsa, she said.
“We ended up driving back and forth to Tulsa for 36 weekends,” Esterline said.
It prompted her to try to begin a Wichita-area tour, which will begin Sunday at Sand Creek Station in Newton. Online registration deadline is Tuesday. Esterline, the local tournament director, said late registrations may be taken.
Golfers are separated by gender and age groups. The age groups begin at 5-6, then one for each age up to 14. The younger the golfer, the shorter the hole. Caddies are mandatory for golfers 8 and younger and recommended for ages 9-14, she said.
“In the 6-and-under group, a par-4 is 125 yards, a par-5 is 165 yards, and a par-3 is 75 yards,” Esterline said. “Every group plays from different tees. That makes it fun.”
Also, girls in the 7-year-old group tee off from the boys 5-6 tees, and so on.
The eight-date tour will play at seven courses, including five country clubs. There are tournaments scheduled for the spring, summer and fall seasons, Esterline said.
A $40 membership fee is required per season, plus an entry fee (about $37 for nine holes, $47 for 18) per tournament.
After Sunday’s tournament, the tour will shift to Crestview Country Club on May 22 and June 4.
More information is available from Esterline, who has a link for the Wichita tour on the U.S. Kids Golf Foundation website, www.uskidsgolf.com.
U.S. Kids Golf Foundation Wichita
Entry fee: About $37 for nine holes, $47 for 18, plus $40 tour membership per season
Schedule: Sunday at Sand Creek Station, May 22 at Crestview, June 4 at Crestview, June 11 at Clapp, June 25 at MacDonald, July 10 at Terradyne, July 16 at Rolling Hills, July 24 at Wichita Country Club (championship).