Junior golfers develop life skills on tour

Picking up his first golf clubs at three-years-old, Sam Hamelin has his sights set on one day playing on the Canadian tour. For now, the 15-year-old Stettler resident will tee-off on the McLennan Ross Junior Golf Tour. Last year, Hamelin won two tour events at the Whitecourt Golf and Country Club and the Blackhawk Golf Club in Spruce Grove. At Whitecourt he shot a 78 and at Blackhawk he shot a 71.

Picking up his first golf clubs at three-years-old, Sam Hamelin has his sights set on one day playing on the Canadian tour.

For now, the 15-year-old Stettler resident will tee-off on the McLennan Ross Junior Golf Tour. Last year, Hamelin won two tour events at the Whitecourt Golf and Country Club and the Blackhawk Golf Club in Spruce Grove. At Whitecourt he shot a 78 and at Blackhawk he shot a 71.

“My friends and I, when we were five and six, we just loved to golf,” said Hamelin.

“It’s getting pretty competitive for me now.

“The competitive side of me keeps me going. I love traveling around Alberta and trying all these new courses. It’s so much fun to get into these big fields and compete.”

Hamelin was one of a handful of junior golfers at the tour’s kickoff event held at the Wolf Creek Golf Resort near Ponoka. Joining him was Kaitlyn Wingnean, a 13-year-old Edmonton native who is one of the stars with the tour.

Wingnean won five events on the tour last year. She has traveled all over Canada and down to California to compete in golf tournaments.

Now in its 21st season Duncan Mills, McLennan Ross Junior Golf Tour executive director, said the tour was first fuelled by the explosion of junior golf in the mid-1990s and the rise of golf stars like Tiger Woods, Mike Weir and Lorie Kane.

“What’s not to like about an opportunity for young people to get a chance to learn to play golf,” said Mills. “Because of how we run this tour and who is involved, Alberta Golf has come to view this tour as part of their overall junior development program.

“These kids are getting better and younger than they were 20 years ago. We’ve had top junior golfers who have played on this tour. We expect to see some of these kids to be on the PGA and LPGA in the not too distant future.”

For Hamelin, this is his third season on the McLennan Ross Junior Golf Tour.

“It’s a great starting tour,” said Hamelin. “Without this tour I wouldn’t be where I am. It’s fun because of the tournaments and the courses you get to go to.”

Mills has been involved with Alberta Golf long before he got involved with the Mclennan Ross Junior Golf Tour. Despite the development of good golfers, Mills said that isn’t the tour’s only role

“I’d like to think we want this tour to be a platform for these kids to develop life skills like honesty, integrity and dedication,” said Mills. “It’s about developing skills that will help them more in their entire lives than just whether they end up on TV one of these days.”

The tour starts on May 28 in Drayton Valley. Tournaments held in Central Alberta include July 5 in Innisfail, July 6 in Lacombe, July 13 in Olds and July 18 in Ponoka. The tour championship is scheduled for Aug. 29 in Ponoka at the Wolf Creek Golf Resort.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nicole Buchanan, chair of Red Deer Public Schools board, says it’s too soon to say how the provincial government’s 2021-22 will impact the district. (Contributed file photo)
Red Deer school boards react to provincial budget

It’s still too soon to say how the latest provincial budget will… Continue reading

Minister of Advanced Education Demetrios Nicolaides said allowing Red Deer College to become a university  would create a gap in programming.  (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer College continues 2021-22 budget planning

Red Deer College is continuing its 2021-22 budget planning, a day after… Continue reading

Innisfail RCMP were dispatched to a report of a break and enter in progress on Sunday. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer woman among two arrested by Didsbury RCMP

Two people are facing drug-related charges after RCMP searched a home in… Continue reading

Satnam Singh Sandhu, 42, was sentenced to six years in prison for manslaughter on Friday in Red Deer Court of Queens Bench. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Sylvan Lake man sentenced to six years for choking his wife

Satnam Singh Sandhu pleaded guilty to manslaughter

Some workers are terrified at the prospect of returning to work at Olymel, where hundreds were infected with COVID, says a worker.
Advocate file photo
Second death linked to Olymel COVID-19 outbreak, Alberta Health confirms

A second death has been linked to the Olymel COVID-19 outbreak, Alberta… Continue reading

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

This image released by Briarcliff Entertainment shows Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, left, with journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a scene from the documentary “The Dissident.” (Briarcliff Entertainment via AP)
US implicates Saudi crown prince in journalist’s killing

WASHINGTON — Saudi Arabia’s crown prince likely approved the killing of U.S.-based… Continue reading

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby speaks during a media briefing at the Pentagon, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
US strike, first under Biden, kills Iran-backed militiaman

BAGHDAD — A U.S. airstrike in Syria targeted facilities belonging to a… Continue reading

Conservative member of Parliament Michael Cooper holds a press conference as he is joined virtually by fellow members of Parliament, Canadian geriatricians, mental health professionals and Indigenous leaders in Ottawa on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, regarding the Senate amendments to Bill C-7, an Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying). THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Address anti-Indigenous racism in health care before expanding MAID: advocates, MP

OTTAWA — The federal government should not expand access to medical assistance… Continue reading

Emily Keeping of Wetaskiwin, Alta., was last seen at 4:20 p.m. on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin. Supplied/ Wetaskiwin RCMP.
UPDATE: Wetaskiwin RCMP seek assistance in locating missing 11-year-old

Emily Keeping was last seen on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin.

FILE - Cameron Forte (right) and his Fraser Valley Bandits are 2-0 at the Canadian Elite Basketball League Summer Series after being the Saskatchewan Rattlers. (CEBL photo)
CEBL releases 14-game 2021 schedule, hopes to see fans attend games in person

Season will kick off with the Edmonton Stingers and the Fraser Valley Bandits

FILE - Keegan Messing performs during the Men’s Short program at the 2020 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in Mississauga, Ont., Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. If the world figure skating championships do go ahead in a bubble in March in Sweden, there is a good chance Canada won’t be there. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Messing leads Canadian figure skating team at world championships

Messing was the only Canadian to compete on the Grand Prix circuit this season

Nurses episode, titled “Achilles Heel,” was first aired on Global in February 2020. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Global pulls ‘Nurses’ episode after scene with Orthodox Jews deemed anti-Semitic

TORONTO — Global TV says it has pulled an episode of Toronto-set… Continue reading

Lady Gaga is offering a $500,000 reward for the return of her two French bulldogs. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Lady Gaga’s dog walker shot, French bulldogs stolen in LA

Dog walker expected to survive injuries

Most Read