Junior golf is more important than your club realise, it’s the future!

It seems like the most obvious thing in the world to say but kids are the future of our game!

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I think it’s quite common now, and I see this at times at my own club, that the club go pursuing the most “profitable” category of member. I’m not suggesting junior memberships should be the priority because that is just not viable in the short term. What I am saying is that there should be a strong focus placed on building “the next generation”.

The benefits of having a strong core of people under 20 years old are endless!

  • promotes a family environment
  • Word of mouth between parents is strong
  • Word of mouth between KIDS is even stronger!
  • Your club gains a reputation for developing talent
  • Younger members will freshen the club up in every way
  • Opportunities for partnerships with schools
  • The list is literally endless……

I actually consider myself to be proof of this theory. I loved every minute of my youth at my golf club, was there every day during the summer holidays. It’s for that reason I’ll never leave! My friends won’t ever leave either! It feels like home because we have grown up there and enjoyed the “best times we’ve ever had” to quote my parents.

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So here’s a few suggestions I have for cost effective ways of making your club the teen hot-spot for summer 2017

JUNIOR FUN DAY

Make it ridiculously fun, throw the golf club stuffiness out the window for the day! Music, BBQ, bouncy castles, pitch and putt, pony trekking! Anything goes! Make a child think – “I like it here, I want to play golf”

INTRODUCTORY LESSONS

We were all beginners at some point! It is hard enough starting at any point but when you are a child that hasn’t quite developed that patience yet – guidance is needed. Put on two classes a week for £2 a head, teach them about the game and that way your PGA pro benefits too! Never mind the fact you might unearth a real talent

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FUN FORMATS

The game is hard, fact. Make it a little easier to start with, shorten the holes, play with bigger cups, and allow mulligans. Make the kids think being good at the game is achievable rather than impossible.

Then when it’s not competitive play some funny competitions. Fancy dress! Team events! Your club could even do birthday parties!

REGULAR JUNIOR OPENS

Host competitions for the kids from other clubs to play in. Make it fun, different and good prizes. When those kids see how much your juniors love their club they might consider you as a club to join in years to come

REASONABLE MEMBERSHIP RATES

I don’t understand clubs charging large fees for kids. Make the game accessible for them for goodness sake! By all means their membership should have restrictions but let them in the door so they can pick up the game!

JUNIOR TEAMS

Junior sections at clubs go through era’s of good players. Make playing for the team the highest honour they will receive growing up.

Give them a uniform, a golf bag, treat them like royalty! These are the people who have the potential to be at your club and represent you club forever. Not forgetting the fact that the kids growing up will try that little bit harder to be involved in such a set up!

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DISCOUNTS MOVING UP TO THE SENIOR RANKS

This may not be the same at every club but at my club, not so long ago, you went from paying a small junior fee to paying a full adult fee (almost 10x the amount)

Scrap that! Make it not even a question that your junior golfers will make the jump to senior golf. Charge them 50% for the first two years for example. They have devoted their last 5 summers to your club, reward them!

WORK EXPERIENCE AND COMMITTEE INVOLVEMENT

Get them involved in the running of the club. What a bonus if you are a parent looking on and seeing your child being educated by their club. Even better, they could work in the bar, kitchen, pro shop, green staff! Help them grow as people

Do all of these! Every single one! They don’t cost a thing in the grand scheme of things. If you look at the majority of long term members at your club today, I bet you could trace them back in some way to junior golf. The only loyalty that exists in the golf industry today has been built up over many years.

Let me know what you guys think  I would really appreciate any likes, shares or follows that you guys could give, thanks so much for reading

GMG

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