BEHIND THE SCENES
Next Year Starts Now for 2017 Drive, Chip & Putt Hopefuls January 27, 2016 | FAR HILLS, N.J. By David Chmiel, USGA

Drive, Chip & Putt competitors keep their eyes on the target as they try to earn an invitation to Augusta National. (Courtesy Drive, Chip & Putt) 

Most golfers lose confidence at some point in their drivers, wedges or putters. They could learn a lesson from the next class of young Drive, Chip & Putt hopefuls.

The USGA, Masters Tournament and The PGA of America have officially kicked off the 2017 Drive, Chip and Putt Championship, giving enthusiastic young golfers from across the country a chance to advance through qualifying and earn the once-in-a-lifetime chance to compete in the National Finals at Augusta National Golf Club. Now in its fourth year, the local DCP qualifying schedule will provide thousands of girls and boys nationwide the opportunity to compete. Online registration began on January 26.

 “Consider the impact of 256 qualifying sites in all 50 states and you will begin to understand how Drive, Chip & Putt is breaking down barriers to make the game more accessible,” said Mike Davis, executive director of the USGA. “The program not only draws tens of thousands of young golfers to compete and enjoy the game together each year, but also inspires thousands more to pick a club and play.”

This free golf-development initiative for kids ages 7-15 is broken down into girls’ and boys’ divisions in four age categories. Local qualifying will take place in 50 states during May, June, July and August. Top performers there will move on to subregional and regional qualifiers held in July, August and September, eventually identifying the top 40 boys and 40 girls who will compete in the National Finals at Augusta National on Sunday, April 2, the eve of the 2017 Masters.

“The joy of success on a child’s face after making a great chip shot or sinking a 12-foot putt is why the USGA is actively engaged in this program,” said Davis. “We know success leads to confidence, and confidence leads to a lifelong love of our game.  Drive, Chip and Putt fosters a new community of young golfers who not only compete together, but inspire each other – just as they inspire us.”

David Chmiel is manager of Members content for the USGA. Please contact him at dchmiel@usga.org.

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