Promoting the Game in Tennessee
TN Golf
< Back

Blades Brown named to the inaugural US National Junior Team


FRANKLIN, Tenn. — With the announcement of the first-ever U.S. National Junior Team by the United States Golf Association comes some local recognition. Nashville native Blades Brown is one of 18 members of the inaugural team.


Brown is one of eight boys that make up the U.S. National Junior Team roster, earning him another spot in the golf history books. 


“It’s a huge responsibility to be given this honor to represent my country,” Brown said. “I can’t wait to meet the rest of my team and it’s just awesome.”


“We’re honored to have such a great representative of Tennessee on the inaugural U.S. National Junior Team in Blades Brown,” Tennessee Golf Association Executive Director Allison Brown said. “He’s earned his spot amongst the nation's best junior golfers and we’re excited to see what’s next for him on his journey.”


Within the last 12 months, the 16-year-old Tennessean has burst onto the national golf stage. In June, Brown became the youngest Low Amateur in Tennessee State Open history. After that he traveled to Spring Creek Ranch where he set a multitude of records at the Tennessee Junior Amateur, going on to win by a whopping 12 strokes over the field.


Perhaps the cherry on top of Brown’s sublime season was breaking Bobby Jones’ 103-year record as the youngest co-medalist at the US Amateur.


“I mean, to have your name mentioned in the same name or in the same sentence as Bobby Jones is absolutely incredible,” Brown said. “That’s something that Tiger Woods hasn't even done and to have my name in the record books, that's so cool to think about.”


It all culminated in Brown becoming the first player in Tennesse history to be named the TGA Men’s and Boys’ Junior Player of the Year.


The U.S. National Junior team is a part of the recently created U.S. National Development Program (USNDP) aimed to “ensure American golf is the global leader in the game.” The team is designed to help these elite junior golfers reach their full potential.


“This is also about growing the game and this team is a great opportunity to grow the game nationally and internationally,” Brown said. “I’m also really excited to travel. I’ve never been outside of the country so it will be really fun to explore the world while I play the game I love.”


Brown is joined on the U.S. Junior Team by seven other boys and ten girls. The full roster can be viewed here.


“We are thrilled to introduce the first U.S. National Junior Team, a group of 18 exceptionally talented young athletes who represent the bright future of American golf,” said Chris Zambri, head coach of the U.S. National Development Program. “Nearly every other golf country in the world has long enjoyed the benefits of a developmental program and national teams, and the announcement of this team is a major milestone in the USGA’s commitment to the growth of our American athletes and ensuring we remain the global leader in the junior, amateur and professional game.”


The U.S. Junior Team roster is compiled and reevaluated annually by a selection committee of U.S. National Development Program (USNDP) staff members. Selections are made following eligibility criteria and based on a variety of competitive factors including scoring, results, statistics, rankings, sportsmanship and scouting.


Throughout the 2024 season, the 18 players will participate in bi-annual camps and compete internationally under the U.S. flag. The team’s first training camp will be held May 8-11 at Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Ga., and the first international friendly match will take place this summer against Australia. Members of the U.S. National Junior Team will receive year-round support, including world-class coaching and analysis, sports psychology and nutritional guidance. USNDP staff will collaborate with players’ home coaches and support teams to ensure they have the resources necessary to develop the physical, mental and life skills to reach their potential.


Earlier this year, the USGA opened applications for the USNDP Grant Program, which will assist talented golfers and their families with the financial resources needed to pursue a competitive path in the game. All 2024 grants will be awarded in the coming weeks. The U.S. National Development Program and its grant program are supported by philanthropic giving and secured resources to fulfill the USGA’s commitment to providing pathways to elite levels of the game, regardless of financial considerations. For more information, visit usga.org/give_usndp.


In January, the USGA announced that it had created a state team pilot program that expands the pipeline for elite junior golfers into the U.S. National Development Program. Through close collaboration between the USGA, its Allied Golf Associations, the PGA of America and relevant state junior programs, seven states, including Tennessee, joined the initial phase with the goal of all 50 states having a team by 2033.