Written by Thomas Duffy Friday, 24 July 2009 00:00
This upcoming August, 9-year-old Levittown resident Anthony Parziale will travel to North Carolina to compete in the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship tournament.
The tournament will be held August 6-8 at the Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, NC. Parziale will be one of thousands of children from around the globe who are expected to converge on the resort during those days to compete in the tournament.
U.S. Kids Golf, an organization that strives to instill and nurture a love for golf among children, has been staging its World Championship tournament annually since 2000. It provides boys and girls age 12 and under from anywhere in the world an opportunity to compete against each other.
“The U.S. Kids Golf World Championship was created to provide an avenue for kids to showcase their progress in golf and to spur competition among the 12 and under age group at every level,” reads a statement on U.S. Kids Golf’s official website. “In every sport, the engine that ignites a player’s heart is the desire to compete. Competition at any level makes golf more fun and encourages young players to improve their skills and advance in the game.”
In regard to her son’s entry into the tournament, Parziale’s mother Diane said, “It’s an amazing thing for him to even be involved in.”
The tournament matches its competitors against others of the same gender and age. Those factors also determine the number of holes and the amount of yardage a competitor will play each day: the older a child is, the greater the number of holes and the amount of yardage he or she will play. Parziale and the other 9-year-old boys will be playing 18 holes over 4,800 yards per day. It will be the first time Parziale has played 18 holes.
Parziale’s forthcoming effort will be his third attempt to win the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship, having previously competed in the 2006 and 2007 tournaments. He gained entry to this year’s competition by shooting a score of 39 over 1,900 yards at a qualifying event at the Pine Barrens Golf Club in Jackson, NJ.
Parziale’s affiliation with golf began when he was only a year old, when his grandparents bought a plastic golf set for him to play with. He played on a golf course for the first time at the age of 3, during a visit he and his parents took to Myrtle Beach, SC.
Preparing for the World Championship tournaments has demanded a great deal of dedication and determination from both Parziale and his mother. Children’s golf tournaments are seldom if ever held on Long Island golf courses – the course owners are unwilling to “take the plunge” of encouraging masses of children to play on their courses, Parziale’s mother explained – and both Parziale and his mother were regularly forced to travel as far away as New Jersey – generally at least an hour-and-a-half drive for them – in order to find such tournaments for the young golfer to compete and hone his craft in.
“It is very hard to travel to New Jersey every week,” Parziale’s mother lamented.
She hopes that Long Island courses might someday reverse their stance on hosting children’s tournaments, not only for her and her son’s sake but also for the sake of other local families in the same predicament.
“I would love to see some courses step up and host a tournament,” she said.
Parziale already has aspirations to one day play golf professionally. His favorite golfers are Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. His mother credits Woods with inspiring children such as her son to take an active interest in the sport.
“Tiger Woods really changed the game,” she said.
She is also thankful for the existence of an organization like U.S. Kids Golf, which provides such a grand outlet for children with a love for golf.
“U.S. Kids is a great organization,” she said.