The $20,000 Question

Parents of competitive junior golfers should expect to spend up to $20,000 a year to cover travel, instruction and tournament expenses, says Mac Thayer, executive director of the Junior Golf Scoreboard. (And you thought Pampers and preschool were pricey.) Here's how those costs might break down for a child who plays in 10 AJGA or other national events per year:

The costs

Equipment: $1,000
Coach/camp/club membership: $8,000s
Airfare: $3,000
Hotels: $3,000
Other travel expenses: $3,000
Tournament entry fees: $2,000

Total: $20,000

NEED SOME FINANCIAL AID?

Check in with the AJGA, which dished out nearly $230,000 in need-based grants to 60 junior golfers in 2006. For information on eligibility, visit ajga.org or call 877-373-2542.

A WORD ON SPONSORS

\nCompetitive junior golf isn't child's play. If your kid's getting comped, here's what to watch out for:

Expenses...

He can: Have his tournament and travel expenses covered by a sponsor

He can't: Get paid to play in tournaments, or apply any sponsor money toward non-golf related activities, like, say, tickets to the Yankees-Red Sox game.

Handouts...

He can: Receive free golf equipment from a manufacturer. Balls, clubs, gloves, caps—the works.

He can't: Get paid by a sponsor to use its equipment. Sorry, that $25 million contract will have to wait.

Playing for money...

He can: Play a $2 nassau with his buddies. The USGA does not forbid gambling if the money is put up by the players themselves and if "the amount of money involved is such that the primary purpose is the playing of the game for enjoyment."

He can't: Play as a ringer on behalf of someone else in a big-money match arranged by, say, Tony Soprano.\n

• For more information on the requirements for junior amateur status, visit www.usga.org.

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