The Cayman Islands Golf Association recently held its Annual General Meeting, providing the golfing community an opportunity to celebrate the recent success of Cayman’s golfers on the local and international stage.

Last year was highlighted by the men’s amateur team, which placed third in the Caribbean Amateur Golf Championships in the Dominican Republic. The six-man team included three juniors – Andrew and Aaron Jarvis and 14-year-old Justin Hastings, who recently gave Cayman its best ever finish in the Latin American Amateur Golf Championship, a tournament whose winner receives an invitation to play in the upcoming Masters tournament in Augusta, Georgia, in April. Justin was the youngest ever competitor in the event.

Justin is one of many young people that participate in CIGA’s junior golf program, in partnership with the North Sound Golf Club in Grand Cayman, and the David Leadbetter Golf Academy, based in Orlando, Florida.

“We are delighted to have forged an alliance with one of the world’s top coaching academies. We have around 50 juniors participating in the Leadbetter program with many more being introduced to the game through the Cayman Junior Golf program run by Brad de Schiffert at the North Sound Golf Club.

“We plan to build on the Leadbetter partnership with some even bigger plans to attract, retain and develop our junior talent. Part of this initiative is a ‘train the trainer’ component with the LGA team working alongside our own local coaches,” said CIGA President Paul Woodhouse.

Mr. Woodhouse also pointed to the golf-teaching program with John A. Cumber School in West Bay as an example of joint efforts to broaden the reach of the junior effort. This will continue with some coaching in George Town Primary School in the spring.

In addition to the men’s team success, in May, Nitti Howe and Isabel Mendes provided Cayman a second-place finish in the Caribbean Ladies Mid-Amateur Championships. Also in May, Heather Hardy, Andrew Jarvis and Greg O’Driscoll won their handicap divisions in the Caribbean Classic Golf Championships, a tournament open to golfers of all skill levels.

The 2017 Men’s Caribbean Amateur Team

At the Caribbean Amateur Junior Golf Championships in July, a team of nine players – the biggest ever to represent Cayman – traveled to Trinidad. Justin Hastings and Aaron Jarvis finished second in their age divisions, and on the girls’ side, 12-year-old Holly Mclean finished fifth in her age group.

In June, CIGA sent a men’s team to the Island Games in Gotland, Sweden.

At the AGM, CIGA also set forth its committee for the upcoming year. Mr. Woodhouse will continue to serve as president, with Scott Kapuscinski acting as vice president. Also on the committee are Graeme McGuffie (treasurer), Emma Woodhouse (secretary), Dan Fortune (tournament committee chairman), Robin Jarvis, Nick Gaze, Lewis Melland and Jonathan Joyce.

Looking forward

In late July, the Golf Association will host the 62nd Caribbean Amateur Golf Championships. This will be Cayman’s third time hosting the Caribbean’s most prestigious amateur golf event, held in Cayman most recently in 2008. Tournament Director Mr. Kapuscinski explained, “The Caribbean Amateur represents a great opportunity to showcase the Cayman Islands. We are partnering with numerous local businesses to put on the event, led by title sponsor Dart and supported by The R&A.”

To get involved with the junior golf program, or to find out more information about the upcoming Caribbean Amateur Golf Championships, please visit CIGA.ky.