Parents are not afraid to spend money on their children. By the age of seven, the average child is playing in at least two organized sports. Many of these kids will have started these sports at the age of three or four and will continue to play for the next five years and beyond. Right now, parents are planning for 2018, preparing to spend hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars each month to ensure their child is playing sports, making friends, and having a positive learning experience.

Each sport (soccer, baseball, gymnastics, skiing, dance, hockey, etc.) follows a singular strategy to maintain both parent and child engagement:

  • Acquire them young.
  • Get them into a development program.
  • Nurture their success with fun, social and parent engagement.

The Big Question: Is Golf missing a tremendous opportunity to capture these young players and turn them into lifetime golfers?

We asked leading player development professionals Brendon Elliott, Chris Knobloch and Scott Robbins their advice on maximizing the youth market.

Here is what they had to say:

 

Brendon Elliot, PGA Professional
(President – Little Linksters)

What benefits has your facility seen from having a player development pathway?

We are a hybrid if there ever was one at Little Linksters! We don’t have a dedicated facility but rather several different locations we conduct our programs at. However, those facilities that have our program and actively work with us to help promote our programming, undoubtedly see an increase in junior participation, parental participation and an increase in revenue in rounds, merchandise, range, and F&B.

A cool side note…although our Little Linksters programming is not about creating champions but rather being a great start for kids ages 3 and up, we had just over 80 kids that played at the US Kids Golf World Championship in Pinehurst this year that were past or current participants in one or more of our different programs and initiatives.

What advice would you give professional as they look to plan their 2018?

If they don’t have programming for very young children at their facilities, specifically ages 3-8, which is traditionally much young than the norm, don’t be afraid to allow other local organizations such as Little Linksters or the First Tee or even other Professional with these types of programs to be at your facility. Same can be said for programs for the special needs community, competitive youth, or any other subset of the junior population. These programs, although not being offered BY your facility, but being offered AT your facility will still pay dividends for YOUR facility! Especially if you help these outside organizations and make them feel welcome!


Chris Knobloch, PGA Professional
(Head Golf Instructor – Peachtree City)

What benefits has your facility seen from having a player development pathway?

A player development pathway provides guidelines for our entire junior golf program. Our player development pathway creates retention in our junior golf program which has significantly increased our year over year revenue.

What advice would you give professional as they look to plan their 2018?

For the Golf Professional, the best things you can do is be proactive. First, parents today are planners. So it is extremely important to get your schedule set early, especially summer camps. Second, parents are hungry for more information, provide parents clear information about your program. Share all the new programs, any new technology to enhance the experience and engage their player. Finally, I encourage my fellow professionals to embrace change and continue to identify opportunities for improvement and to run your business more efficiently.


 

Scott Robbins, PGA Professional
(Scott Robbins Golf)

What benefits has your facility seen from having a player development pathway?

Overall, we have seen increased play in both our Player Development and Parent/Child events. As a result, significant increase in revenue and continued growth from new players being interested in our packaged programming.

How has a player development pathway increased direct revenue for you at the facility?

Several ways.  We created a new membership program just for Juniors (Junior Memberships). We have packaged monthly practice programs that can support a large number of players and provides us with a predictable revenue stream.  All of which increase the activity of our core events: PGA Junior League, Sub-Regional Fab 4 event and Parent-Child events.  Net-Net, the kids are having fun, becoming better players and parents continue to support their development.

What advice would you give professional as they look to plan their 2018?

Get started!  Little things will become big things with the right commitment and passion.  Some might say, “we don’t have a big junior golf program” that is perfect, start with a few, make it fun and I can promise you will have growth. Fun will attract more kids and the kids you have will invite their friends to join them.


 

Junior.Golf can help you maximize the financial impact of your junior program. To learn more about how Junior.Golf can benefit your facility, enter your email below: