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Meet Chris Smeal of Future Champions Golf

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chris Smeal.

Chris, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
After having a boring an office job out of college, I was invited back to work at Stadium Golf Center. I was given the opportunity to teach junior golf clinics. I hadn’t event talked to a kid in years but I immediately knew it was my calling to help kids learn how to golf and I could use my experiences taking up golf at 15 and becoming a scratch golfer by 17 to help kids accelerate their improvement and love for the game of golf. I quickly had 40 plus kids a week attending these clinics and then a parent told me I really should start a “program” so I wrote out a plan for “Future Champions Golf” that originally was just going to be instruction programs, camps, private lessons and schools. After 3 years of coaching these programs we had over 100 kids a week coming and over 300 summer program participants.

In 2007, I was teaching so many kids but didn’t have anywhere to send my kids to compete year-round in affordable tournaments and I felt these kids were working so hard and they needed more competition to accelerate their development. I teamed up with Antrone Williams to start hosting one 36-Hole weekend tournament each month the first year and we did very well. We then added a winter break tournament called the San Diego Junior Amateur (Now the FCG National Championship) that attracted 220 players the first year and our first champion had 12 college coaches on site recruiting him. This was the first event that gave us some credibility and faith from parents that we could host major junior golf events. Now this event sells out annually with 550 plus kids from all over the world.

In spring 2008, we launched the San Diego Junior Masters to be held the week prior to Junior World in San Diego as a warm up event for that event. That event also quickly took off and we now annually host over 600 players for that event. We also built the FCG Callaway World Championship after frustrations of not being able to get kids into another World Championship event, why not do our own right? That event this past year grew to 500 players held in the middle of summer at the Westin Mission Hills. It was an amazing event and next year we will have qualifiers all over the world and will expand to 800 players from 40 plus countries. It has been an incredibly fun journey since we started and it’s not possible without our incredible staff of dedicated junior golf enthusiasts, great parents, great kids, and a lot of help now from sponsors including Callaway Golf. At the end of the day all we are trying to do is provide the experiences that kids need to love the game and succeed. The opportunities are there for kids in our program to truly get as good as they want to.

Has it been a smooth road?
No! Every day and every year there are roadblocks, challenges… In 2013 we had to change the name of one of our tournaments and spend thousands of dollars in lawyer fees because Augusta National and the Masters wanted us to change the name of our San Diego Junior Masters tournament. It was great press and a good opportunity to change the name to something more in line with the size of the event. It is now called the FCG International Junior Golf Championship.

There is always new competition, When I first started the junior golf clinics and camps there were only a couple other junior programs in San Diego and now every golf course has something.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Future Champions Golf story. Tell us more about the business.
Future Champions Golf – Founded by Chris Smeal, PGA in fall 2003, we are experts in junior golf player development & host of some of the world’s largest and most exciting junior golf tournaments. Our tournament headquarters and golf academy are located at Stadium Golf Center in San Diego, CA. We want every kid to LOVE the game of golf.

We specialize in getting kids to play college golf.

Some of our bigger tournaments now attract nearly 40 College Coaches recruiting at them. Other tours do not get nearly this many coaches.

I am most proud of FCG for sticking to our core fundamentals and still everyday just trying to help kids and parents navigate the life of a junior golfer in the most strategic and healthy way. We have no interest in burning the kids out, we want to keep building that FIRE in them.

Competitive Golf is growing and that is exciting and where our focus is on. We are just trying to keep growing globally and have FCG tournaments and coaches hosting events worldwide and become the leader in junior golf player development.

Pricing:

  • Tournaments range $40-$325 per event
  • Membership $49-$199 but you don’t have to be a member to participate
  • Private Coaching – $90-$150 per hour depending on the coach

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Future Champions Golf

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