IJGA – International Junior Golf Academys
Preparing Junior Golfers for Competition and for Life.

News and Blog


This week’s IJGA Alumni Update features class of 2011 graduate Rika Park, Fujieda Shi-Shizouka, Japan, who currently plays collegiate golf at the University of Miami  and competed at the Hurricane Invitational on the Biltmore Golf Course in Coral Gables, Florida, March 2-4, 2015. Park is currently a senior at the University of Miami and boasts a […]


This weekend was a busy one for IJGA alumni and the professional students of IJGA Director of Instruction, Kevin Smeltz. Sarah-Jane Smith of Geelong, Australia, and a student of Smeltz, spent the weekend in her own back yard playing in the Ladies European Tour’s ISPS Handa NZ Women’s Open at the Clearwater Golf Course in […]


This past weekend (February 28 – March 1, 2015) 65 juniors competed at the IJGT Junior at Palmetto Dunes. In challenging conditions, IJGA students showed well with a forced four-hole playoff in the Boys 15-19 Division and girls bringing home top honors in the Girls Division as well. After the first round, IJGA senior Ritwik […]

Ana Ruiz and Thamonpat Siriko reunite at the Westbrook Invitational.

Two Class of 2014 IJGA Alumni crossed paths this week as Thamonpat “Pear” Siriko (Bangkok, Thailand) of Indiana University and Ana Ruiz (Chihuahua, Mexico) of The University of Oklahoma competed with their respective squads at the Westbrook Invitational at the Westbrook Village Golf Club in Peoria, Ariz. on February 22-23, 2015. Playing as a freshman […]

Inserra, Brett 3

Brett Inserra became interested in golf when his brother started to play because “I always wanted to beat him at everything.” He first picked up a club when he was just seven years old. “I was not good, but I loved to play,” Inserra recalls. Now a student at the IJGA, he ranks in the […]


IJGA alumnus Richy Werenski, of South Hadley, Mass., made it through to the next episode of Golf Channel’s Big Break The Palm Beaches, FL, on Monday night. Unlike the week before, Werenski did not immediately earn immunity to the next episode, but he did not face the elimination challenge. This week’s first challenge was one of […]

Morgan Hoffman earned his best finish this season on the PGA Tour at the Northern Trust Open

IJGA alumnus Morgan Hoffman, Franklin Lakes, N.J., finished inside of the top 25 (T22) for the first time this PGA Tour season this weekend at the Northern Trust Open at the Riviera Country Club in Palisades, Calif. Hoffman’s strong performance was highlighted with a stunning 5-under-par 66 in the third round, marking a personal best […]


This weekend, many IJGA students competed in the Georgia Junior at Savannah Harbor and all three top spots in the Boys 15-19 and Girls Divisions came home with them. Starting both days with a shotgun start, pleasant conditions with a high of 75 for the final round highlighted the 36-hole event. In the Boys 15-19 […]


IJGA alumnus, Richy Werenski of South Hadley, Mass., advanced to Episode Four of Golf Channel’s Big Break The Palm Beaches, FL. Werenski earned “immunity” or a guaranteed trip to the next show, early on in the episode. The challenge included a golf component, as well as an element of strategy. Each contestant was paired up against […]

Photo by Tracy Wilcox

Kelly Whaley of Farmington, Conn., and Ana Paula Valdes of Morelia, Mexico, traveled down to Orlando, Fla., to compete in the ANNIKA Invitational last weekend. An annual event since 2009, the ANNIKA Invitational attracts 72 of the top female junior golfers in the world. This year, the 54-hole, stroke-play event was held on the Watson Course at Reunion […]

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Students at the International Junior Golf Academy may soon be “moving better” than ever before. Last week they enjoyed a visit from ALINE, makers of the ALINE Foot Suspension System, which was designed to help people move better, perform better, and feel better. Smart golfers use ALINE for a competitive advantage and to stop the foot and lower […]

Mind A

Warissara “Mind” Puangcharoen started playing golf when she was 11 years old. She has finished in the top 10 in every International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT) event she’s played in this season and closed out the fall season with a second-place finish in the IJGA Invitational at Sea Pines. During the IJGA Invitational, Puangcharoen shot par […]

Golf player

As the age-old saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.” However, simply going through the motions without a definitive plan can end up hurting your progress, no matter how often you go out to train. When it comes to golf, even the slightest tweak to your pre-shot routine or swing can alter your contact and send your […]

Ogawa, Tennoshin 3

Tennoshin Ogawa has his father to thank for sparking his interest in golf. When Ogawa was just eight years old, his father told him to try the sport; he said yes and the rest is history. Last weekend he competed in the Sea Pines Junior Heritage and was the only player to card a hole-in-one, which he accomplished on the par-3 […]

Ana Paula Valdes Junior Heritage_

Ana Paula Valdes of Morelia, Mexico, defended her title as Sea Pines Junior Heritage champion and became the first ever player to win the tournament twice in a row this weekend. The 24th edition of the annual tournament was held on February 7-8, 2015. Juniors competed at Harbour Town Golf Links for round one and […]


Geuntae Kim of Daegu, South Korea, has verbally committed to play golf for the East Tennessee State University (ETSU) Buccaneers starting in  the Fall of 2015. The Bucs have been competing as a member of the NCAA Division I Atlantic Sun Conference since 2005. The ETSU men’s golf team has won three championships and made four at-large […]

Phuchanbanchob, Cake A

Chomchana “Cake” Phuchanbanchob of Chiang Mai, Thailand, first started playing golf when she was eight years old, but stopped playing six months later. Then, when she was 13, she started playing again. Phuchanbanchob had a successful fall season including a first place finish in the Lowcountry Open at Oldfield GC in which she shot par […]

Kedlaya, Ankita 1

Ankita Kedlaya‘s golf career actually started with tennis.  ”I was playing tennis at a nearby academy and I just tried it and got hooked on it from then on,” the junior golfer recalls. Kedlaya first started golfing in fifth grade. Now a junior at IJGA, Kedlaya’s playing style is focused yet relaxed. Read on to learn […]

Ayushmaan Jaiswal, Trey Wren and Kelly Whaley show off their first place trophies.

Taking advantage of the last of three local tournaments to open the International Junior Golf Tour’s (IJGT) spring season, IJGA students competed in the Lowcountry Junior at Wexford Plantation on January 31-February 1, 2015. IJGA students finished first in each of the three divisions of the two-day, 36-hole event. Coming off a second place finish in the Carolina Classic […]

Geuntae Kim hits tee shot in the Junior Heritage Qualifier

Ankita Kedlaya of Bangalore, India, and Geuntae Kim of Daegu, South Korea, earned medalist honors at the Sea Pines Junior Heritage qualifier on Jan. 31, 2015. The 18-hole qualifier was contested on the Heron Point Golf Course in Sea Pines Resort and featured 56 players in the Boys Division competing for three spots, and 12 […]

Park, Dong Jin 1

Dong Jin Park’s fall season was bookended by championship titles at the IJGT Lowcountry Open at Oldfield Golf Club in September and the IJGA Invitational at Sea Pines in December. Park first discovered the joys of hitting the ball straight when he decided to accompany his father to the golf course one day. His dad continues […]


The IJGT’s Carolina Classic at Colleton River started with a bang. Literally. After the first day of play was cancelled due to heavy rain, players began via shotgun start on Sunday morning. Instead of playing 36 holes over two days, juniors played 27 holes on Sunday, January 25, 2015. After 27 holes, three IJGA students […]


If you tune into Golf Channel’s Big Break this season, you just might see a familiar face. IJGA alumnus Richy Werenski of South Hadley, Mass., will be competing on Big Break The Palm Beaches, FL. The 2010 IJGA graduate, who played college golf at Georgia Tech, will be competing for an exemption into the 2015 […]

IJGA at IJGT Junior

  Making the most of the new spring season, many IJGA students took advantage of the start of the International Junior Golf Tour’s (IJGT) spring event schedule. Beginning the season locally, the IJGT hosted the IJGT Junior at Hilton Head National, on January 17-18, 2015, and not one, but two academy students participated in playoffs. […]

As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. This is especially true when it comes to the game of golf, and you work tirelessly on perfecting your pre-shot routine, your approach to each shot, and finally the shot itself. In order to get better at golf you need to constantly practice and hone your skills […]

Student Spotlight Teran

Gabriela “Gaby” Teran first started playing golf at age six because her entire family played. She credits her brother with having the biggest impact on her golf game. “When I was younger he taught me how to stay calm, dedicated and focused,” she said of her brother. The calm and usually smiling Teran tries to […]

Current IJGA student Aaron Terrazas of Veracruz, Mexico, is set to play in the inaugural Latin American Amateur Championship (LAAC) at Pilar Golf Club in Argentina on January 15-18, 2015. The much-anticipated event is composed of the leading players from the 29 International Olympic Committee-recognized countries and territories from this region that are current members of the International […]

Lee Hammerschmidt commits blog

When current IJGA senior Lee Hammerschmidt of Armonk, N.Y., was interviewed by the Armonk Daily Voice two years ago, he said he had two golf-related goals: to play for a Division I program and to win a tournament in South Carolina. He can now cross the former off his list as he has committed to […]

Puancharoen commits blog

  Warissara “Mind” Puangcharoen kicked off 2015 in a very big way. In her senior year at the IJGA, the Chonburi, Thailand, native announced she will head to Marquette, Michigan, next fall thanks to her commitment to Northern Michigan University (NMU). There, she will serve as a member of the Wildcats inaugural women’s golf team for the […]

As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. This is especially true when it comes to the game of golf, and you work tirelessly on perfecting your pre-shot routine, your approach to each shot, and finally the shot itself. In order to get better at golf you need to constantly practice and hone your skills […]

port- r werenski

IJGA alumnus, Richy Werenski of South Hadley, Mass., finished in a tie for 43rd place at the final stage of Web.com Tour Qualifying School earning him playing status in the first eight events on Web.com Tour schedule. Since graduating from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2014, Werenski has been training in Bluffton, S.C., the hometown […]

Katsuya Asano #3

Katsuya Asano of Kanagawa, Japan, has recently been accepted to play on the Men’s Golf team at King University in Bristol, Tenn. Asano, an IJGA Class of 2014 graduate, will begin his college career in January of 2015. Although Asano’s path to college golf was paved with many obstacles and detours, his personal drive and […]

IJGA Invitational at Sea Pines

The IJGA hosted the IJGA Invitational at Sea Pines in conjunction with the International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT) on December 13-14, 2014, and academy students dominated the field. The junior golfers had the opportunity to play on both the Ocean Course and Harbour Town Golf Links during the two-day, 36-hole event. The field was divided […]

Ritwik Jain TOC

Current IJGA student, Ritwik Jain of New Delhi, India, has verbally committed to play golf for the University of Charleston Golden Eagles. Jain, a 2015 graduate, joined the IJGA in the fall of 2013. He has been training intensely at the IJGA while working equally as hard in the classroom at Heritage Academy. His concerted efforts on […]

Photo credit: USGA

Two former IJGA students earned Category 17 status on the LPGA after the third and final stage of LPGA Qualifying School at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla. Stephanie Meadow finished in a tie for 21st place while Marta Sanz Barrio finished in a tie for 43rd place. Both players were competing in the final […]

Azahara Munoz

IJGA students had a special treat waiting for them when they arrived at Pinecrest Golf Club on Thursday: LPGA players Azahara Munoz and Sarah Jane Smith were there to practice alongside them. Both women are coached by IJGA instructors. IJGA Director of Instruction Kevin Smeltz is Smith’s coach and Tim Vickers coaches Munoz. Munoz, who […]

Yunjie Zhang TPC

Many International Junior Golf Academy members had the opportunity to compete at TPC Sawgrass for the Thanksgiving Day Classic, hosted by the International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT) during Thanksgiving weekend. At least one IJGA member placed in each of the three tournament divisions. An impressive front nine in round one and back nine in round three […]

Ana Paula Valdes being interviewed by the AJGA after her first-round 3-under-par 69 at the Polo Golf Junior Classic.

IJGA student Ana Paula Valdes of Morelia, Mexico, advanced to the quarterfinals at the American Junior Golf Association’s (AJGA) Polo Golf Junior Classic. The Polo Golf Junior Classic, which has been conducted annually since 1978, marks the first tournament of the AJGA’s 2015 season. Former champions include Stewart Cink (1989), Trevor Immelman (1995), Tiger Woods (1991), […]

IJGA partner with World Stars

In a recent partnership with the World Stars of Junior Golf Championship, the IJGA will serve as the Official Training Partner of the World Stars of Golf. Formally World Masters, the World Stars of Junior Golf has become one of the largest junior golf tournaments in the world hosting more than 350 competitors representing more […]

Early Signing 2014-15

Each year, the IJGA hosts students from all across the country and all around the world. Each individual comes to the IJGA with a different set of talents and skills and a personalized plan for his or her future – all of which become the main goal. For nine special IJGA students, yesterday, November 12, […]

Kelly Whaley

Current IJGA student, Kelly Whaley of Farmington, Conn., was selected to the American Junior Golf Association’s (AJGA) Rolex Junior All-American team. The prestigious award from the AJGA annually recognizes players who have proven to be the world’s premier junior golfers. Whaley earned Honorable Mention honors putting her in elite company in junior golf. Whaley had a […]

Ana Paula Valdes wins the 2014 Golfweek International Invitational (photo credit to Tracy Wilcox, Golfweek)

Current IJGA student, Ana Paula Valdes of Morelia, Mexico, won the 2014 Golfweek International Invitational with a tournament total of 3-over-par 145. The 36-hole tournament was held at ChampionsGate Golf Club in Davenport, Fla., on the National Course for the Girls Division, while the Boys Division was contested on the International Course. The Golfweek International […]

IJGA alumni continue to excel around the world in tournament play. This past weekend three former IJGA students finished in the top 20 on the LPGA tour at the Blue Bay LPGA. Shanshan Feng finished in a tie for seventh place, Mariajo Uribe finished in a tie for 11th place, and I.K. Kim finished in […]

Current IJGA student, Kelly Whaley of Farmington, Conn., finished in a tie for second place at the Faldo Series Grand Final at The Greenbrier. The 54-hole event was contested on the par-70 TPC Old White which hosts the annual PGA Tour event at The Greenbrier. Whaley recorded a tournament total of 220 including scores of […]

Pablo Larrzabal advanced to the quarterfinals at the Volvo World Match Play Championship (photo credit to European Tour)

IJGA alumnus, Pablo Larrazabal, had a spectacular weekend on the European Tour at the Volvo World Match Play Championship. Larrazabal made it all the way to the quarterfinals of the tournament before falling to Joost Luiten, who was 8-under-par through 13 holes. Along the way to the quarterfinals, Larrazabal beat Ryder-Cupper Stephen Gallacher 1-up,  and […]

Yunjie Front Entrance Scaled Down

Current IJGA student Yunjie Zhang of Haikou, China, will make her LPGA debut at the Blue Bay LPGA in Hainan Island, China. The 72-hole event features some of the best players on the LPGA. Zhang will be teeing off No. 10 at 8:00 a.m. (local time) with Cristie Kerr and Mi Jung Hur. Golf Channel […]

Florida Junior IJGA Champions 2014

Many IJGA juniors made their way to Walt Disney World Resort on October 11-12, 2014, to participate in the IJGT Florida Junior. The event, held at the Palm Course, offered IJGT merit points and national rankings in addition to a special invitation to the North American Junior Amateur Championship (NAJAC) to be held in Litchfield Park, Ariz., […]

Milleina Ohara CSU

This past week former IJGA students have had success across the world in both collegiate and professional events. Class of 2013 graduate, Phimnipha “Sandy” Wongwaiwate had another great tournament finish for Yale University. She finished in a tie for fifth place at the Nittany Lion Invitational with scores of 77-71-73. She helped lead her team […]

Photo credit: UCFKnights.com

Former IJGA student, Ayaka Nakayama joined the University of Central Florida‘s (UCF) Women’s Golf roster in 2013 to begin her collegiate golf career. Adding to her extensive successes, Nakayama shot a career-low 66 (1-under) to help the Knights finish fifth overall in the Schooner Fall Classic on Monday, October 6, 2014. With 18 teams in […]

Group Photo

As part of a generous invitation, 10 IJGA students attended the University of North Florida campus for an exclusive tour. Following the tour, the selected students were also invited to take part in the Red Bull Tee Time with Lexi Thompson. Head UNF coach, Joanne Berglund, and assistant coach, Leslie Grabeman, spoke to IJGA Director of Instruction, Kevin […]

The International Junior Golf Academy (IJGA) is very proud of the former students that have used the superior training at IJGA to continue their careers on the collegiate and professional levels. IJGA alumni have been racking up top finishes across the country. Here are the top performers from last week. Phimnipha (Sandy) Wongwaiwate, a 2013 […]

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The IJGA is excited to announce PUMA as the new “Official Apparel Sponsor” for the 2014-2015 academic year. PUMA brings over 65 years of experience and expertise in producing exceptional products for the sport industry, marketed worldwide. Founded in 1948, and headquartered in Herzogenaurach, Germany, PUMA focuses on maintaining its history of making product designs […]

Byrne, Conor

IJGA students traveled to Okatie, S.C., on September 27-28, 2014, for the two-day IJGT Lowcountry Open at Oldfield Golf Club. Despite rain in the forecast both days, all three divisions saw a close race for first. IJGA student, Tennoshin Ogawa of Ichinomiya-shi, Japan, won the Boys 15-19 Division with a tournament total of one under-par […]

Rushton Tee Shot2a

College golf season is in full swing, and IJGA alumni have been performing well all across the country. 2013 graduate, Matt Rushton, a sophomore for University of Notre Dame, finished in 14th place at the Windon Memorial Classic after scores of 72-67-73. He was the top performer for his team and also qualified as the […]


Cake Phuchanbanchob, a 2015 graduate and senior at the IJGA, has verbally committed to California State University – Northridge.  Phuchanbanchob of Chiang Mai, Thailand, arrived at the IJGA in November 2011. In almost three years, Phuchanbanchob went from being a casual golfer in Thailand to one of the top golfers at the IJGA. Her first […]


With the recent addition of Golf BioDynamics to the IJGA, students have begun a series of physical competency tests in effort to solidify personalized benchmarks for the year ahead. Such testing will not only provide Karen Harrison, Director of Health & Athletic Development, with an initial report of student capabilities but also a way to measure […]


Many IJGA alumni have started their college golf seasons in the past two weeks. For some it, this marked the beginning of their college careers, and for others, another season full of defending tournament titles and working towards claiming conference championships in the Spring of 2015. Laura Restrepo, a member of the University of Louisville’s […]

PH of week 9.11.14

As the IJGA kicked off the 2014-2015 school year, Director of Mental Training, Matt Cuccaro, unveiled the #competeWITH theme. Through this theme, Cuccaro and the entire IJGA community will embrace and practice the idea that success of individuals depends on the simultaneous success of the community. This means that optimum personal growth is accomplished when […]

Dr Neal 2

Prior to the start of the 2014-2015 school year, the IJGA introduced the addition of Golf BioDynamics (GBD) to the academy’s golf program. GBD is a group of experts in the realm of 3D technology, golf swing mechanics and the link between the technical and the physical. As co-CEO/Founder of GBD, Dr. Robert Neal also […]

Zeng GW SE Invite

Twelve IJGA students traveled to Pawleys Island, S.C., on September 6, 2014, for the 36-hole Golfweek Southeast Junior Invitational. The event was conducted like a college event with all 36 holes being played in one day. Two weather delays made the 36-hole day even longer for all of the competitors. IJGA student, Bunyaporn Zeng of Bangkok, […]


Kelly Whaley of Farmington, Conn., continued her successful summer season on August 30-September 1, 2014, at the AJGA Girls Championship finishing in a tie for second place with a tournament total of 3-under-par 213. The 54-hole event was contested at the Furman Golf Club in Greenville, S.C., and featured some of the best junior players […]


In 2013, John McCabe joined the IJGA for the year as a post-graduate (PG) student. Using the PG year to continue to grow his golf game while also preparing for this future, John was a pivotal member of the IJGA community. Guaranteed to put a smile on anyone’s face, students, coaches and staff alike could […]

IJGA International Junior Golf Academy Logo

What should I bring to the Academy? Necessary Items: Golf equipment, backpack, clothing, toiletries, linens for twin bed, blanket/comforter, alarm clock, umbrella, bug spray, suntan lotion, towels, money/credit card, hangers, swimsuit, school supplies, dress clothes for special occasions and travel supplies. Optional Items: I-pod, camera, cards, sports equipment, reading lamp and cell phone. Prohibited Items: Drugs, […]

Valdes_Terrazas Team Mexico

  Current IJGA students, Aaron Terrazas of Veracruz, Mexico, and Ana Paula Valdes of Morelia, Mexico, have been selected by the Mexican Golf Federation to represent Mexico in the World Team Amateur Championships in Japan. The competitions will take place at Karuizawa 72 Golf East in Karuizawa, Japan, and is hosted by the Japan Golf […]

Bria Sanders LPGA Homepage

The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) announced that Bria` Sanders, IJGA alumni, was the recipient of the 2014 Phyllis G. Meekins Scholarship. Awarded to Sanders for her academic excellence, countless hours of community service and her golf talent, the scholarship rewards a female high school seniors from a minority background who plans to pursue full-time […]

Yunjie Zhang is ready to go at the U.S. Women's Amateur!

Yunjie Zhang of Haikou City, China, competed in the 114th U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship at Nassau Country Club in Glen Cove, N.Y. The championship, which is conducted by the United States Golf Association (USGA), is one of the best amateur events in the world. The event was held August 4-10, 2014. The tournament field, which consists of 156 of the finest […]

Sophie Guo and Warissara Puangcharoen earn medalist honors at AJGA qualifier.

IJGA students, Sophie Guo of Hangzhou City, China, and Warissara Puangcharoen of Chonburi, Thailand, earned medalist honors at the AJGA Qualifier at Barefoot Resort in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. on August 3, 2014. Both Guo and Puangcharoen finished with scores of 4-over-par 75. The qualifier, which was originally slated to start 8:30 a.m., was delayed […]

Team Mexico captures back-to-back titles at the Girls' Junior Americas Cup

IJGA student, Ana Paula Valdes of Morelia, Mexico, won her second Girls’ Junior Americas Cup title on July 31, 2014, at Walla Walla Country Club in Walla Walla, Wash. The 54-hole tournament consisted of 18 teams of four players representing three countries and many western states. Valdes finished the tournament with an 8-under-par 208 tournament […]

Yunjie Front Entrance Scaled Down

August 4, 2014 has been a day IJGA student, Yunjie Zhang of Haikou City, China, has been waiting for anxiously ever since she qualified for the 114th U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship at Nassau Country Club in Glen Cove, N.Y. The championship, which is conducted by the United States Golf Association (USGA) is one of the […]

Valdes with IJGA coach, Dan Merrell, who also caddied for Valdes during the championship.

On June 30, 2014, Ana Paula Valdes, IJGA student from Morelia, Mexico, qualified for the U.S. Girls’ Junior at Columbia Country Club with a score of 2-over-par 74. That solid performance earned her an invitation to the 66th U.S. Girls’ Junior conducted by the United States Golf Association (USGA). The tournament featured 156 of the […]

Photo Credit: AJGA
Will Chandler, winner of the Boys Division & Kelly Whaley, winner of the Girls Division

In a field of 20 talented female junior golfers, Kelly Whaley of Farmington, Conn., came out victorious at the AJGA Davis Love III Junior Open at Sea Island Golf Club in St. Simon Island, Ga., on July 21-24, 2014. The rising senior at the IJGA finished an impressive five strokes ahead of her competition after […]


It is never too early to think about your future. Sera Tadokoro of Osaka, Japan, certainly knows the truth in this which is precisely why, even with three high school years remaining, she has made a verbal commitment to play golf at the University of Central Florida (UCF). Over the past two years, Tadokoro has […]

Zhang AJGA EZGO Scoreboard

Yunjie Zhang and Xue Wen Luo, both of Haikou City, China, led a group of 10 IJGA students at the AJGA E-Z-GO Vaughn Taylor Championship at Jones Creek Golf Club on July 15-17, 2014. In the Girls Division, Zhang finished in third place after putting together a tournament total of 224. The highlight of her […]

Geuntae North South

The North & South Junior is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the southeastern United States featuring 90 players in both the Boys and Girls Divisions. Held at Pinehurst in Pinehurst, N.C., the tournament took place July 7-10, 2014. IJGA student, Sera Tadokoro of Osaka, Japan, finished in third place in the Girls Division […]


Across the pond, IJGA alumni continue to make statements in their already impressive careers. The 2014 ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters was hosted at Buckinghamshire Golf Club July 3-6, 2014, and showcased the talents of IJGA alum, I.K. Kim, and IJGA Class of 2010 graduate, Stephanie Meadow. The four-day tournament featured huge comebacks by both players […]


During Week 4 of IJGA Summer Experience, 47 campers joined us from June 22-28, 2014, for some on-the-course training as well as long game, short game, fitness and mental training. IJGA full-time students also traveled around the nation to compete in AJGA tournaments. From photos tagged using #IJGASummer and added to the IJGA Facebook page, Photo of the […]

Zhang (top row, second from the right) one of the ten qualifiers for the U.S. Women's Open - Photo Courtesy of Carolinas Golf Association

Current IJGA student, Yunjie Zhang of Haikou City, China, qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur at the sectional qualifier at Sapona Ridge Country Club on July 2, 2014. Zhang fired a 1-over-par 72 to finish in a tie for fifth place and earn one of the ten spots available at the qualifier. With a great start […]

Valdes with IJGA Coach, Dan Merrell, after qualifying for the U.S. Girls' Junior

Current IJGA student, Ana Paula Valdes of Morelia, Mexico, qualified for her second consecutive U.S. Girls’ Junior on June 30, 2014, at the sectional qualifier at Columbia Country Club. Valdes carded a 2-over-par 74 to book her trip back to the United States Golf Association (USGA) National Championship. The round was not perfect for Valdes, […]

Cake Sera Junior PGA

IJGA student, Kobdech Rodrat of Bangkok, Thailand, won the Carolinas Junior PGA Championship in the Boys 13-15 Division with a tournament score of 4-under-par 140. He was very consistent both days at the Hackler Golf Course in Conway, S.C., firing two rounds of 2-under-par 70. After regulation he was tied with Patrick Golden, but Rodrat […]


I will begin by admitting that I am not a golfer. I’ve played a total of 18 holes in my life, most of which were not pretty. That being said, I normally avoid teeing it up and stick to admiring great golfers from “outside the ropes”. It is from behind the lens of my camera […]

Game Swing Tanglewood

IJGA student, Kobdech “Game” Rodrat of Bangkok, Thailand, finished in third place at the American Junior Golf Association’s (AJGA) Junior All-Star at Tanglewood on June 24-26, 2014. The 54-hole event was contested on the Championship Course at Tanglewood Park in Clemmons, N.C. Rodrat finished with a tournament total of 7-under-par 203 for the championship. The […]


During Week 3 of IJGA Summer Experience, 62 campers joined us from June 15-21, 2014, for some on-the-course training as well as long game, short game, fitness and mental training. IJGA full-time students also traveled around the nation to compete in AJGA tournaments. From photos tagged using #IJGASummer and added to the IJGA Facebook page, […]

Photo Credit: Toyota Junior Golf World Cup

IJGA’s Aaron Terrazas of Veracruz, Mexico, played for Team Mexico in the 2014 Toyota Junior Golf World Cup on June 24-27, 2014, in Japan where he placed ninth individually en route to a team eighth-place finish. The Toyota Junior Golf World Cup is the only junior golf event to feature 20 national teams comprised of […]

Photo credit: The Score

Former IJGA student, Stephanie Meadow, placed third in her professional debut at the age of 22 last week at the 69th U.S. Women’s Open in Pinehurst, N.C. Held June 17-22, 2014, the 72-hole event featured a field of 71 golfers who made the cut from at least 20 different countries. Meadow qualified for the Open […]


A record 19 IJGA students competed in the American Junior Golf Association’s (AJGA) IJGA Junior Open at Chechessee Creek Club on June 17-19, 2014. IJGA students played very well recording three top-five finishes. Leading the way in the Boys Division was Yuan Li of Haikou City, China. Li finished the 54-hole tournament with an even-par […]

jasmine week 2

New to the IJGA Summer Experience in 2014 is our Photo of the Week contest. We encourage full-time IJGA students and summer campers to tag their photos taken during training, tournament play and free time with #IJGASummer to enter their posts in the weekly album. Photos from each week that are posted on Facebook, Twitter, and […]


Consistency translates to a victory for Puangcharoen Bunthanawong becomes first-time winner at Crescent Pointe The IJGT kicked off the Summer Series in the southeast at Crescent Pointe Golf Club on June 17-18, 2014. The first event of the summer schedule featured a field of 11 juniors ranging in age from 15-18 years old for the two-day, 36-hole […]

Stephanie Meadow BAMA

At the age of 14, Stephanie Meadow won the 2006 Irish Girls’ Championship and in the same year moved from Jordanstown, Ireland, to join the International Junior Golf Academy to train and perform at her full potential. Her experience on the International Junior Golf Tour included nine individual titles including a victory at the 2009 […]

Photo credit: Golf Week

Former IJGA coach, Chris Hill, was named Head Coach at the University of Pacific for the men’s golf program. After spending four years at the University of Houston as the assistant coach turned associate head coach, Hill will join the Tigers to lead the program. “We are excited to have someone of Chris’ caliber come […]

Yunjie Zhang fires even-par 70 to take medalist honors

The American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) is hosting the IJGA Junior Open at Chechessee Creek Club in Okatie, S.C. On June 15, 68 boys and 23 girls competed in a qualifier to determine the remaining eight spots in the IJGA Junior Open tournament field. IJGA students Taisuke Ono of Tokyo, Japan, and Yunjie Zhang of […]


As schools begin to wrap up the school year, the IJGA is in full swing for the summer season. With the Summer Experience back for another summer, junior golfers from all over the world are making their way to Hilton Head Island, S.C., for a summer camp that combines training led by Director of Instruction […]

Hammerschmidt (on the right) won the Metropolitan PGA Junior Series at Eisenhower Golf Course.

Lee Hammerschmidt of Armonk, N.Y., won the Metropolitan PGA Junior Series at Eisenhower Golf Course. The 36-hole event was contested on the White Course at the state park named for the 34th President of the United States and avid golfer, Dwight Eisenhower. Hammerschmidt won the tournament in a playoff by making a birdie on the […]

Sera JAS Standard Bearer

IJGA student, Sera Tadokoro of Osaka, Japan, finished in third place at the AJGA Junior All-Star at WindStone Golf Club on June 3-5, 2014. Competing in her second AJGA event, Tadokoro got off to a good start firing a 1-over-par 72. In the second round, Tadokoro shot even-par 71 which moved her up the leaderboard, […]

Junior PGA

Current IJGA student, Rei Nakatani  of Tokyo, Japan, won the PGA Junior Series at Columbia Country Club on June 3-5,2014 in Blythewood, S.C. Nakatani finished with a 1-over-par 217 tournament total and won the Girls Division by five strokes. Nakatani began the tournament with a solid round of 1-over-par 73 putting her only three strokes back […]

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In arguably the most exciting time of the year, the International Junior Golf Academy proudly celebrated the graduation of 24 intelligent and successful senior students on May 22, 2014. As students began finishing their final exams and wrapping up year-end passion area events, they geared up for a series of graduation events to celebrate their […]

dr kwon

IJGA Director of Instruction, Kevin Smeltz, and some of his current LPGA students, including Na Yeon Choi, Jennifer Song, and Sue Kim, visited Dr. Young-hoo Kwon, a professor of biomechanics at Texas Women’s University in Dallas and one of Golf’s Biggest Innovators by Golf.com. Accompanied by Chris Como, a PGA professional, the duo is unlocking […]

ku group

Minami Levonowich of Hilton Head Island, S.C., and graduate of IJGA class of 2011, led University of Kansas during the NCAA Central Regionals in Stillwater, Okla., May 8-10, 2014. During the second round, Levonowich contributed an eagle and three birdies to the team’s total, placing the Jayhawks in 10th place overall going into the final […]

peter kim

Army freshman, Peter Kim, of Metuchen, N.J., visited IJGA to train with Director of Instruction, Kevin Smeltz, before beginning the end of his collegiate season. Under Smeltz’s instruction, Kim used the technology in the Performance Center to analyze his game and focus on improving his weaknesses. Shortly after training at IJGA’s facilities, Kim won the […]

jamie lin

Hao Yang “Jamie” Lin   Click here to view Lin’s BlueGolf profile Where are you from? Taichung, Taiwan What is your graduation year? 2015 How long have you been with the IJGA? Seven months What are some upcoming tournaments you will be playing in? 2014 Bridgestone Tournament of Champions How long have you been playing […]

Richy Werenski- GT

Graduate of IJGA Class of 2010, Richy Werenski of South Hadley, Mass., began the stepping stones of the next chapter of his life, beginning with his graduation from Georgia Tech University on Saturday, May 3, 2014.  From there, Werenski traveled back to Massachusetts to compete in the Massachusetts Open Qualifier held at the Golf Club of Turner Hill […]


Low final round translates to a victory for Ozaki Whaley becomes two-time winner at Falcon’s Fire KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The IJGT traveled south to host The Orlando Junior at Falcon’s Fire Golf Club on May 10-11, 2014. The final event of the regular Southeast Tour schedule featured a field of 61 juniors ranging in age from 11-19 years old for […]

Dan Merrell

The instructors at the IJGA are always looking for ways to gain more knowledge and to help their students improve performance on the golf course. Over the past few months, current IJGA instructor, Dan Merrell, has been working toward a certification with Nike Golf 360 powered by the Gray Institute. At the end of April, […]

yuki w ucf

IJGA Class of 2013 graduate, Ayaka Nakayama of Kanagawa, Japan, joined University of Central Florida (UCF) in January 2014 as a member of the Women’s Golf team. Nakayama was a student at IJGA for three years and came over from Japan as an ESL student her first year. “I couldn’t speak any English when I […]

maggie ashmore

Ashmore secures first-ever IJGT title  The IJGT hosted the SC Callaway Junior World Qualifier at Golden Bear Golf Club at Indigo Run on May 3-4, 2014. The event was the first Callaway Junior World Qualifier of the Southeast Tour for the 2013-2014 season. Winners of the event received an exemption into the prestigious Callaway Junior World Golf Championships. In addition, […]

Masato Yoshitsugu Tee (2)

Masato Yoshitsugu Click here to see Yoshitsugu’s BlueGolf Profile Where are you from? Aichi, Japan What year will you graduate? 2015 How long have you been with IJGA? Two years What are some upcoming tournaments you will be playing in? I will be playing in IJGT Orlando Junior at Falcon’s Fire and Bridgestone Tournament of […]

Laura Restrepo, courtesy of www.gocards.com

The past few weeks have been very busy for NCAA college golfers with many conference championships being contested at various golf courses around the country. Each conference champion from an automatic qualifying conference earns a spot in an Regional Championship, where the field for the NCAA Championships are determined. There were many top performances including […]


The Golf Guide 2014 featured in Westchester Magazine’s May issue featured Lee Hammerschmidt of Armonk, N.Y., and his growth in his first year at the IJGA. After hanging up his football cleats, Hammerschmidt decided to commit to growing his golf game by enrolling at the IJGA to received intensive golf instruction from Director of Instruction, […]

Tang was in the final group at the Wells Fargo Junior Classic. Each final group had a volunteer keeping score for them throughout the round!

Current student, Phyllis Tang of Hong Kong, China, finished in fourth place at the American Junior Golf Association’s (AJGA) Wells Fargo Junior Classic on April 26-27, 2014, after carding a tournament total of 1-over-par 145. The 36-hole tournament was contested at the Country Club of the South in Johns Creek, Ga. Tang’s first-round score of […]


Each year following the Masters, the PGA Tour travels to Harbour Town Golf Links to host the RBC Heritage, an event originating in 1969. Annually, the event draws large, eager crowds and brings joy to the community of Hilton Head Island. IJGA works closely with the RBC Heritage committee to provide amazing opportunities to our […]

Pongrac, Ryan

For most people, martial arts and golf have very little in common but for Ryan Pongrac, martial arts is the foundation of his golf game. At the ripe age of four, Pongrac began training with Master Carl Beams of Art Beins Karate. Though Beams rarely accepted students this young, Beams felt that Pongrac’s parents had […]

college prep winners

Cook nabs first in two-hole playoff Arjun finishes first in a come-from-behind win The IJGT hosted College Prep at local venue, Palmetto Hall Plantation Club on April 26-27, 2014. The first 54-hole event of the Southeast Tour was held on the Robert Cupp Course both days and consisted of three rounds of 18 holes. The tournament’s lineup included 51 juniors between […]

Phyllis Tang Tee

Phyllis Tang Click here to see Tang’s BlueGolf profile Where are you from? Hong Kong, China What year will you graduate? 2014 How long have you been with IJGA? Three years What are you some upcoming tournaments you will be playing in? S.C. Callaway World Junior Qualifier and AJGA Wells Fargo Junior Classic presented by […]

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Austin Maher of Bracebridge, Ontario, has signed his National Letter of Intent to attend the University of Montevallo in Montevallo, Al., to play golf. The current IJGA senior will attend Montevallo in the fall as a freshman. Since 2010, Maher has played in 33 IJGT tournament events, his recent best being a second-place finish at […]

Minyi (Samantha) Huang finished in second place at the 19th Annual Innisbrook Easter Junior

Current IJGA student Minyi (Samantha) Huang of Shenzhen, China, recorded a second-place finish in the 19th Annual Innisbrook Easter Junior held on the Island Course at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla. The three-day, 54-hole tournament was contested on April 18-20, 2014, and consisted of 30 players in the Girls Division. Huang started the tournament […]

Aaron Terrazas, junior golfer at IJGA, leads Team Mexico at the Toyota Junior Golf World Cup

Aaron Terrazas Click here to see Terrazas’s BlueGolf profile Where are you from? Veracruz, Mexico What is your graduation year? 2015 How long have you been with the IJGA? Four years What are some upcoming tournaments you will be playing in? Junior Invitational at Sage Valley How long have you been playing golf? 10 years […]

RBC Heritage

What started as a small Thanksgiving tournament in a quiet town is now one of the most anticipated events of the year for Hilton Head, S.C. The annual RBC Heritage is held during the week following the Masters each year and features seven days of tournament play. The 2014 RBC Heritage Opening Ceremony was held on […]

chandler at oldfield

OKATIE, S.C. – The IJGT hosted the Oldfield Junior presented by Auntie Anne’s at Oldfield Golf Club on April 12-13, 2014. The sponsored event was a two-day 36-hole tournament with junior participants ranging in age from 12-19 years old. Winners of the event were awarded IJGT Merit Points and also competed for national rankings and an invite to the IJGT’s Bridgestone […]


  As the game of golf continues to grow, India has made concerted efforts to promote the sport they have come to love. Along with the growth in the sport comes the growth of the enrollment of Indian students in IJGA’s golf program. In a recent article, The Times of India highlights the benefit enrollment […]

Open house flyer thought

IJGA Open House- May 17, 2014 Experience IJGA training and analysis for a day! International Junior Golf Academy will be hosting a complimentary Open House on Saturday, May 17, 2014. During this event, participants will have an opportunity to experience training from IJGA Director of Instruction, Kevin Smeltz along with his team of coaches. Also […]

ritwik putting

Ritwik Jain Click here to see Jain’s BlueGolf profile Where are you from? New Delhi, India What is your graduation year? 2015 How long have you been with the IJGA? Six Months What are some upcoming tournaments you will be playing in? IJGT Oldfield Junior and AJGA Innisbrook How long have you been playing golf? […]


D’Amico secures first-ever IJGT victory Arjun comes from behind to nab first  DURHAM, N.C. – The IJGT traveled north to host The College Classic at Washington Duke Golf Club on April 5-6, 2014. Favorable spring weather with temperatures in the 60s made for ideal playing conditions for juniors ranging from 12-19 years of age. National rankings, IJGT Merit Points and […]

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As one of GolfWeek’s Top 100 Instructors, Kevin Smeltz, undoubtedly knows the game of golf. The IJGA Director of Instruction has coached individuals ranging from beginners to professionals, including LPGA legend, Yani Tseng. In the years that Smeltz has been coaching Tseng, one of the world’s greatest female golfers, her game has developed in ways […]

Ana Paula Valdes with fellow second-place finisher and future Clemson teammate, Lauren Stephenson

Thirteen IJGA students participated in two AJGA events on March 28-30, 2014 including the AJGA Preseason at Pine Island in Charlotte, N.C., and the AJGA Junior at Spring Valley in Columbia, S.C. Among the thirteen students competing, five finished in the top 10 while representing the IJGA. In the Boys Division, Maurizio De Bono of […]

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Keith Techasith Click here to see Techasith’s BlueGolf profile Where are you from? Bangkok, Thailand What is your graduation year? 2014 How long have you been with the IJGA? Four years What are some upcoming tournaments you will be playing in? IJGT Oldfield Junior and S.C. Callaway World Junior Qualifier at Golden Bear How long have […]

landino dietrich

Ben Dietrich (University of South Carolina) and Olivia Landino (Western Carolina University) both put together stellar performances to help their respective teams to high finishes in March 2014 tournament play. Both players recently graduated from the IJGA and are currently in their freshmen year of college. Making an impact as a freshmen, like Dietrich and […]

mary studying

Mary Morgan, Residential Instructor Hometown: Mary was born and raised in northern-lower Michigan and lived a few years in California afterwards. Languages: English Educational experience: Mary originally opened her own day care with 10-12 children in attendance ranging from ages six weeks to 14 years old. After her son began school, she served as a […]

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McDowell takes first in a playoff victory Ogawa secures his third victory of the season COLUMBIA, S.C. – The International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT) headed north to the Columbia Country Club to host the Palmetto Open on March 22-23, 2014. Both rounds were played in perfect golf weather with temperatures in the 70s, light breezes and abundant sunshine. Forecasted […]

Photo Credit: Zimbio
Villegas at the Web.com Tour's Brasil Champions presented by HSBC

Manuel Villegas began working with Kevin Smeltz, IJGA Director of Instruction, when he was a sophomore at the University of Florida. Flash forward years later and the Web.com Tour rookie has experienced noteworthy success in his golf game. At the Web.com Tour’s Brasil Champions event presented by HSBC on March 16, 2014, the rookie carded […]


IJGA alum and 2012-2013 post-graduate student, A.J. Correia of Bedford, N.H., notched his best tournament finish in his freshmen year at the Lonnie Barton Invitational at LPGA International on March 10-11, 2014. Correia, who competes for Sacred Heart University posted rounds of 73-78 to finish in seventh place. It was his best finish in four […]

Image Courtesy of RollTide.com

This past weekend three IJGA alums returned to the Hilton Head area to participate in the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate contested at Long Cove Golf Club in Hilton Head Island, S.C. Stephanie Meadow (University of Alabama), Marta Sanz (Auburn University), and Regina Plasencia (University of Arkansas) all competed for their respective universities in the three-day tournament […]


As a pair, the IJGA and the Heritage Academy are dedicated to the success and growth of each student in both academic and passion areas. In the last few months of the 2013-2014 academic year, senior students spend their time pouring themselves into their studies, taking college preparation exams including the SAT’s and further pursuing […]

Photo Credit: Georgia Tech Athletics

Placing outside of the top-10 at the Puerto Rico Classic might not have been the finish IJGA alum, Richard Werenski, imagined, but playing in favor of team success was a task he was fully prepared for. The three-round tournament held in Puerto Rico began on Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014 where Werenski joined a veteran Georgia […]

meadow bama

IJGA class of 2010 alum, Stephanie Meadow, returns to Long Cove Club in Hilton Head Island, S.C., to help defend University of Alabama’s team title at the 2014 Darius Rucker Intercollegiate. Meadow returns from a third-place finish in the 2013 Darius Rucker Intercollegiate after rallying in the final round to shoot the day’s low-round of 67. […]

Oakley Logo

    Oakley and IJGA partner to provide students market-leading eyewear The beginning of 2014 introduced a new partnership between IJGA and Oakley. Oakley is now the official eyewear of the IJGA and our students are eligible to receive large discounts on eyewear that isn’t even available to the public yet! After our first monthly […]

Stephanie Meadow Shares Medalist Honors at Lady Puerto Rico Classic Stephanie Meadow’s win at the 2014 Lady Puerto Rico Classic was featured on University of Alabama’s athletic page Tuesday, February 18th. Meadow, an IJGA graduate and current senior at University of Alabama, earned co-medalist honors at the 2014 Lady Puerto Rico Classic on the par-72, 6,191-yard […]


SAVANNAH, Ga. – The International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT) headed south to The Club at Savannah Harbor to host the Georgia Junior on Feb. 22-23, 2014. Round one was played in textbook golf weather with temperatures around 70 degrees and a day filled of sunshine. Despite temperatures dropping slightly into the 60s during the final round, the forecasted rain […]

Erwin Tee Shot1

BROCK ERWIN Erwin teeing off at the Florida Junior at Black Diamond Ranch (Oct. 12-13, 2013) Click here to view Erwin’s BlueGolf profile. Where are you from? Muldrow, Okla. What is your graduation year? 2016 How long have you been with the IJGA? This is my first year. How long have you been playing golf? […]

Kellis Korner

Play your best by planning your best Set your schedule and train accordingly to compete and play at your highest potential To provide our students the best opportunities to prepare for playing at the collegiate level, IJGA is partnered with College Golf Camps (CGC), a new program that brings Division 1 coaches together to interact […]


Kim earns first Major Championship win Valdes wins back-to-back at Kiawah KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – The International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT) stopped at Kiawah Island Resort over the weekend to host the Major Championship. Round one was held on the Jack Nicklaus designed Turtle Point Golf Club. The final round was held on the famed Ocean Course, which has […]

Patriotic golf bags that will be carried by junior golfers, including Cheng and Terrazas, at the CB&I Boys Championship.

IJGA students Matt Cheng of Taipei, Taiwan, and Aaron Terrazas of Veracruz, Mexico, will represent the IJGA at the CB&I Boys Championship on February 14-17, 2014 in a three day 54-hole tournament at The Club at Carlton Woods in Woodlands, Texas. The CB&I Boys Championship is one of the largest, most prestigious junior golf tournaments […]