Sathya Peri watched quietly, with intent, as the panel of golf coaches, parents and educators spoke. The 14-year-old freshman at Whitney High School was one of nearly 200 attendees at the SCGA Foundation's Junior Golf Summit at the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, seeking information on what they needed to do to prepare for a college golf and education transition. This Summit was one of three that the SCGA Foundation hosts annually (traditionally in February) and this year’s summits had over 450 attendees.
Peri has only been playing for four years, but his love of the game is evident. A member of the Tiger Woods Learning Center, he signed himself up for the seminar, the second one he's taken part in since he was 12.
"I want to play golf in college and thought this would be a great recap," he said afterward. "I like the competitiveness, and there's no limitations for improving."
Peri was like many young golfers at the Summit, receiving valuable advice and guidance from a handful of Southern California's most knowledgeable golf and preparatory people. Kaplan College Preparatory School was in attendance, as was the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy, Southern California Section of the PGA, Sun Safe Tee, and the WSCGA Foundation.
On the speakers' panel, former USC golf coach and Road to College Golf developer Ted Gleason; past SCGA President and former Saddleback College golf coach Bill Cunerty; and UC Riverside Men's and Women's golf coach Paul Hjulberg gave insight and perspective into frequently asked questions. Parents and juniors were given the opportunity to ask questions regarding redshirting, financial aid, how to prepare for college golf in high school, the recruitment process, educational requirements, and more.
"In this journey I've had with golf, there's nothing like it," said Cunerty before the crowd. "Before you're a good player, you better be a good person. Can you think of another game where you have to sign your name to the score? As a coach, I like to see how my players sign to a score of 84 -- if that's the best they could do that day, they should be proud."
A college golfer parent was also on the speaker's panel. Steve Fallgren's daughter, Victoria, plays at Gonzaga University, gave a unique perspective on the decision process of choosing a school.
"You really have to let your child lead the process, that's important," he recommended, "Because very soon, the child will be the one that's responsible for this. As a parent though, go to as many golf matches as you can - it all goes by incredibly quick."
At his young age, Peri already has his goals in mind thanks to attending the Foundation's Junior Summit, something he'll do again in the future.
"Every seminar you learn something different, today was beneficial in emphasizing good grades," he said. "I'm not sure where I want to play yet, I want to study business and Columbia has a great school. Golf is fun and I want to continue with it."
Junior Summits are only one of many programs your SCGA Foundation provides to junior golfers. Visit the SCGA Foundation link for more information.