SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Young athletes first lost the opportunity to compete in school sports. Then a lot of summer activities went away too.
But this week, one opportunity returned with the Savannah Junior Golf Association.
Their 30th year will be unlike any other they've ever had.
But just getting kids on the course was the first win of this Savannah Junior Golf Association season.
“We figured this was a safe environment for them with the protocols we put in place. And to give these kids an opportunity to do something. They’ve been cooped up inside, haven’t been able to do anything for so long, get them off video games and doing something physical,” said SJGA Executive Director John Sanders.
And back to something young golfers in this area have anticipated every summer since 1990.
The SJGA tournament series are some of the biggest events some of these kids will play outside of school teams - a chance to compete and improve and get more comfortable with tournament settings.
It's also an opportunity for career highlights.
“I shot 75, that’s a personal best for me from real tees,” said Marilyn Saxton who played in the SJGA event at Crosswinds Golf Club.
This summer, they will seek those opportunities while acknowledging safety guidelines. No touching flag sticks, no high fives or post-round handshakes.
And practicing social distancing.
“On the tee box wait your turn. Wait your turn when you’re putting so you don’t get up close to each other. Just stuff like that.”
But the payoff has been more than personal safety.
“I hope it’s a positive experience and they say, we’re getting back to normal, we’re not going to have to be locked up for the rest of our lives or wear masks for the rest of our lives and just getting back to some normalcy. And golf is such a great game, teaches so many great lessons about etiquette and different things. I just think it’s awesome that we were able to do it, I’m just so excited that we had the opportunity.”
The association had some pretty solid guidance when putting together its protocols.
John Sanders is also the athletics director for Chatham County schools and he followed the same state and national level guidelines he has consulted for local schools.