QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) — Westview and the Knights of Columbus golf courses will once again be in the spotlight next week as the 45th annual Pepsi Little People’s Golf Championships comes to Quincy.
Junior golfers from around the country, and the world, will take their best shot on the Gem City’s public courses, like more than 24,000 have during the tournament’s history.
Executive director Nan Ryan says registration numbers are beginning to pick up and she’s hopeful they can match or exceed last year’s totals.
"We started out a little slow but we are over 2016’s figures and well underway to 2017’s figures," Ryan said.
"I’m really excited about the numbers. Right now we’re at 243 (entries). Last year we had 261. I had 13 entries over the weekend (and) I think we’ll probably get up to last year or more."
Ryan says the tournament continues to attract family members of previous players, including former British Open champion Todd Hamilton whose son Drake is playing this year.
Ryan is also excited to the area’s Junior Rangers Golf Academy which she thinks will help grow Pepsi Little People’s even more.
She’s been in touch with Junior Rangers board member Tim Schrage to join forces in an attempt to grow the game.
"I was talking to Tim (Tuesday) morning and they’re the ones getting the kids interested in golf and creating a base for us to draw from in the future, and there are so many more of those (organizations) in the country. I think it’s an important part of the future of golf."
The Parent-Child event kicks off Pepsi Little People’s on Sunday, followed by Monday’s practice round, and the two-day tournament begins on Tuesday.
On the future of the tournament beyond next week Ryan says she will continue it as long as she can and hopes to make it to 50 years.
The tournament is open to boys and girls ages 3-18 and there’s still time to register at littlepeoplesgolf.com.