Former PDGA Junior Spotlight

Valarie Jenkins

Valarie Jenkins PDGA Junior Worlds

When and where did you win your junior world championships?
I won Junior Girls 15 and Under at the 2001 Amateur and Junior World Championships in Nashville, Tennessee.

What is a lasting memory from when you won your junior championship?
It was a few years ago, so I don’t really remember too many things from that tournament… I believe that I won the putting competition between all the women during the event which happened inside the host hotel there. I also remember how fun it was playing with the girls in my group that week. We had our parents caddying for us, but they were solely there for support so it was truly just about us playing and having fun no matter what. Like in all other sports, kids can burn out if there is too much pressure put on them from their parents so I hope parents keep in perspective that this is the foundation of their child’s career in the sport, and it should start off with parents cultivating a positive and encouraging mental game.

What is your best tip for a junior who wants to compete at the highest level?
Although I grew up in the sport, it wasn’t until I was around 15 that I started playing competitively. I had played in a few tournaments that year in Advanced because there were no other junior girls in my area playing. I was a good player at the time and I remember having to make the decision to play Advanced or Juniors. I decided to play Juniors because it would be my first time ever competing with other girls my age. I know that there are still players having to decide what division to play, especially for the young girls, because our divisions are relatively small. I’m glad that I was able to finally compete with girls my age at that time, and with all the divisions available I would recommend that to the young girls playing. This may be the other opportunity to have your division available with the appropriate competition, and I think they should take advantage of that opportunity.