By Dave Mills – Belleville Sports Hall of Fame
Jessie Mercer of Belleville is playing a key role in Golf Ontario’s plans to ensure that junior golfers from across the province get every opportunity to improve their skills and open the doors to future golf opportunities.
Mercer started her own competitive career on the St. Lawrence Junior Golf Tour, which includes competitions every summer from Belleville to Kingston and serves as a stepping stone to provincial level competition. Her skills as a golfer led to her playing 5 years for the University of Western Ontario, where she was a 5-time Ontario University Athletic Association All Star and a 2-time Academic All Canadian. She also represented Canada at the 2015 World University Games in Korea.
While Jessie’s main role in golf today is working with Golf Ontario, she still manages to compete at the highest levels of amateur golf in Ontario, including the Ontario Women’s Amateur Championship and the Ontario Women’s Mid Amateur Championship (4th in the province in 2018)
Her passion for golf and helping to develop junior golfers makes her a perfect fit for the Golf Ontario Player Development Program. As a Sport Coordinator with Golf Ontario, Jessie has been involved in their Grow Golf Initiatives, such as Golf in Schools, which was supported locally by Quinte Broadcasting, and has recently transitioned into working with the Golf Ontario High Performance Program, designed to help Junior Golfers across the province reach their highest potential.
Golf Ontario – working with industry stakeholders – is currently developing the Junior Golf Pathway. The Pathway will be a key resource for parents and golfers in understanding all aspects related to junior development. This includes where to play, coaching requirements, where the future opportunities are etc.
Development of the Pathway included input from many junior golf stakeholders, academy owners, coaches, tour operators and will include a new Provincial Ranking System that includes recognition of local Junior Tours such as the PLAY Junior Golf Tour in the Quinte Region. The Ontario competitive season will now end with a Provincial Tour Championship, growing out of last years ‘Super Camp’ held at the Black Bear Ridge GC.
This years Tour Championship will be a 54 Hole Competition, with more details available at a later date on the Golf Ontario web site, (www.gao.ca)
The full details on the Pathway will be launched this spring. All Juniors should keep an eye out for it!
Jessie is also involved in setting up a partnership with the American Junior Golf Association that will allow Ontario golfers to play local and earn International opportunities.
There is no doubt that the young Junior Boys and Girls being developed in the programs Jessie is involved in are the future of golf and at some point, will compete at the highest levels of amateur golf…and for a few at the professional ranks. And Belleville’s Jessie Mercer will have played a key role in their success.
Follow Jessie on twitter /jessiemercer