Tumwater native, Jordan Baird, played his first golf tournament when he was 11. “I fell in love with golf playing with my dad,” he said. When he was 14, Baird began volunteering at Tumwater Valley Golf Club. “At first, it was to play free golf,” he chuckled, “but I started loving every aspect of the game while working there.” In 2015, he was the champion of the inaugural O Bee Junior Open held at Tumwater Valley Golf Club. This achievement led him towards his pursuit of a professional career. Today, he’s a Professional Golfers Association of America (PGA) Associate, and he's excited to return to the Tumwater Valley Golf Club as an instructor.
The 5th Annual O Bee Junior Open will take place on Sunday, April 19, 2020, again at the Tumwater Valley Golf Club. Baird, 21, will return to the course this year as a co-manager. Russ Olsen and Dave Nickerson, co-directors of the tournament, are excited to have Jordan guiding this year’s participants. “It was neat to have a local kid win the first tournament,” said Russ. After winning the first Open, Baird went on to play nine college events, win four other junior golf events, took home the Tacoma City Amateur Championship and the Vic Meyer Cup.
Russ and Dave have been co-directing the O Bee Junior Open for five years now. “The first year, we hosted about 30-40 kids. Last year’s event drew in over 100 kids from across the state. The growth is amazing.” Russ shared. The Open serves as a local, junior tournament where kids get to participate with their peers, not only by age, but also by skill level. It helps to make junior golf accessible to the local community. The Open is fast becoming a must-play event for junior golfers across Washington state. “It’s a preview for them before the state championship,” Dave offered.
“We couldn’t do it without O Bee,” said Dave. “O Bee’s title sponsorship allows us to focus on the players and their development.”
What Jordan loves most about the Open is how it lets kids be kids. “They’re going to get distracted and discouraged but I get to encourage them and make a difference in their performance,” he said. Russ and Dave hope to continue growing the event while creating a fun and positive environment for kids to work on their golf skills.
The O Bee Junoir Open welcomes boys and girls aged 8 to 18 to play their choice of three, nine or eighteen holes. Register your junior golfer by April 5th and they’ll receive a custom branded tee prize, plus other game-day giveaways.