Austrian golf stars urged to compete against world’s best young talent

Young golfers from Austria are being urged to test their skills against some of the world’s top talent at a major junior golf tournament this summer.Around 500 players from 30 countries are expected to descend on Scotland for the 2011 U.S. Kids Golf European Championships – Europe’s premier tournament to showcase the next generation of golfing superstars.Some of the best young golfers from across the globe will battle it out for the title of U.S. Kids Golf European Champion as well as coveted places in the U.S. Kids Golf World Championships at Pinehurst Golf Club, North Carolina, later this year.However, only a handful of Austrian players have registered to compete in the event, and organisers are urging junior golfers in the region to sign up to join the international field.Among them is young Bisamberg golfer Dominic Schneider who came fourth in the 2010 event and is competing in the boys 10 section this year. He will be joined by Valerie Hager (girls 12s) and Isabella Holpfer (girls 10s), who are both from Vienna, Daniel Hebenstreit (boys 13s) from Brunn and David Poelzleitner (boys 15-18s) from Vienna.The event – now in its fourth year – has been organised by U.S. Kids Golf Foundation, which provides opportunities for children across the world to learn and play golf.  Kids aged from five to 18 will be challenging one another across five historic courses in East Lothian for the various age group European Champion titles at the event, which also aims to promote the sport among children and families, as well as giving young players the chance to forge lifelong friendships through the game of golf.Dan Van Horn, President and founder of U.S. Kids Golf, said: “Since our inaugural event in 2008, the European Championship has continued to grow in strength and has now become one of the highlights of the junior golf calendar.”Despite their age, the skill of these players is unbelievable and I am sure many of them will not only go on to become competent golfers, but possibly even the Lee Westwoods and Rory McIlroys of tomorrow.”East Lothian is also a very special location for U.S. Kids Golf and the historic courses always provide a great challenge for all of our competitors. We’re still looking for entrants from around the world for the 2011 event, so hopefully there will be a full international field of competitors competing on the links this summer.”Of course, we are still looking for competitors from Austria to enter this year’s tournament, which will once again be staged on some of the most stunning courses in the home of golf. Hopefully there will be many young UK players eager to compete on home soil when the tournament gets underway in June.”The tournament over 31 May – 2 June will take place on five historic courses – Gullane No. 2, Gullane No. 3, Craigielaw Golf Club, Luffness New Golf Club and Longniddry Golf Club – which are modified for each age group in order to provide the same level of challenge, meaning holes are progressively shorter as the age groups get younger.  It ultimately allows the players to reach the greens in the same number of strokes as the top pros on the PGA tour.The top finishers in each category will compete in the Van Horn Cup over Gullane No 1 – a showpiece event, modelled on the Ryder Cup, where the best European players are matched up against the top golfers from the rest of the world.  The top five finishers in each age and gender group also automatically receive an invitation to the U.S. Kids Golf World Championships at Pinehurst Golf Club, North Carolina, in August.Tournament Co-ordinator Alasdair Good, Head Professional at Gullane GC, said: “I’m delighted that the event is once again coming to East Lothian, and that we will be able to see some of the Major-winners of tomorrow competing on our links.”The championship provides not only an impressive showcase of golf in Scotland, but also the emerging talent from the rest of the world. I’ll guarantee no one will be disappointed at the golf they will see.”However, just as importantly, the European Championship helps to promote Scotland – and East Lothian in particular – to a global audience. I hope many of the families from around the world who are coming over for this year’s tournament will be inspired to return in the future and enjoy the best golf that East Lothian has to offer.”The U.S. Kids Golf Foundation was launched in 2001 to provide opportunities for kids to play and learn the game through local tours and tournaments such as the European Championships. Since holding its first tournament in 2000, U.S. Kids Golf Foundation now runs some 400 events each year including the prestigious World Championships at Pinehurst.The Foundation is the charitable branch of U.S. Kids Golf – the world’s largest producer of junior golf equipment. The firm has pioneered the development of golf clubs for young people, eliminating the problem of kids using heavier, cut-down adult clubs which often hurt developing swings and discourage budding players.For more information or to register for the U.S. Kids Golf European Championships, visit