With schools letting out for the summer, it is again time for the junior golf season to begin, led by who else but the 80-year-old "commissioner" of young area linksmen, Frank Emmet.
Will Emmet personally oversee the junior tournaments for the 53rd straight year, lately from his trademark of a golf cart? Is a school bus yellow?
"I don't see any reason why not," said Chevy Chase resident Emmet, the true father of American junior golf, who was nominated for the Golf Hall of Fame in Pinehurst, N.C., a few years ago.
Emmet gets help in the administration of the burgeoning program from his wife and volunteers, but in the old days it was different.
Emmet does not need his volumes of scrapbooks to remember the days when Deane Beman (now PGA tour commissioner Ralph Bogart, and 11-time District Amateur champion Bobby Brownell, all middle-aged men now, stalked the local fairways armed with mashies, niblicks and brassies. To say that the white-haired Emmet has seen them come and go is an understatement.
Back then, parents would telephone Emmet of their son's intention to play in a tournament and pay, usually about $2, at the first tee. Now formal entry blanks are mailed and the check (of $8 to $10) must be back to Emmet well before the tournament date.
The teen-age trends have not always blended well with the staid country club surroundings.
"We went through the long-haired period 15 years ago, then came the faded dungarees dipped in Clorox bleach," Emmet recalled. "One time, Jocko Miller (the now-retired legendary starter at Congressional), turned down a whole team from another club when they came to play an interclub match at Congressional dressed in jeans and T-shirts. Jocko waved them off and said there was no way they were going to play dressed like that.
"But they're a good looking bunch today: They look and play like pros. In the old days, the pro might give a lesson and then turn the kids loose on the golf course for a field day. What we're running now is equivalent to the PGA tour. It's an upper-level program. If a 13-year-old kid with ability really applies himself, he can become a top notch player over a period of years."
Last year, Webb Heintzelman of Whitman High and Washingtonian capped a winning summer by being named junior of the year. He recently signed a scholarship to play golf for the University of South Carolina.
This year it could be a battle between Mike Hoss of Osbourn High and Buddy Sass of St. John's for top honors.
Seishi Tanaka of Osaka, Japan, will play in some of the bigger junior events, the Gorin and Bowers memorials.
Nevertheless, in Emmet's program some things remain the same.
"The 16- and 17-year olds usually drive themselves and can take care of themselves. But in the 14-15 and 13-and-unders, Ma is still the head chauffer."
Tony DeLuca of Chantilly, who out-battled old pro Chandler Harper last summer to win the Virginia PGA Open, heads a quality field in the Washington Area Amateur Champions tournament June 13-15 at Marlboro Country Club.
Other confirmed players are reigning District Amateur champ Rob Black, former Maryland Open titlist Gary Marlowe, Ben Brundred III, Heintzelman, Gerry Nye, Dave King and Fred Funk.
Amateurs wishing to enter should leave their name and $40 at the Marlboro pro shop before 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Several PGA Tour pros stayed over the Monday following the Kemper Open and knocked out some of the potential Washington qualifiers in sectional U.S. Open qualifying at Manor and Argyle. Other than Washington pro Lee Elder, this area has no representation in the U.S. Open starting Thursday at Baltusrol in Springfield, N.J. Elder tees off at 9:11 a.m. Thursday.