Stacy Miller-Arndt is the Junior Golf Director at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, MD. Stacy was named a Top 50 US Kids Instructor from 2004 through 2008; in 2009 she became a US Kids Master Kids Teacher and is currently a US Kids Golf Certified Coach.
Over the last ten years, Congressional Country Club has experienced a significant growth in junior golf. Each year, our base group has experienced a substantial growth with new juniors. Our junior golf program continually exceeds 250 juniors each year. We offer clinics, camps, coaching series, PGA Junior League teams, interclub teams, and a tournament program. Our challenge is how to keep our teenagers connected to the game while competing with other sports and activities.
One stimulus in our growth has been our offering Teen activities. We started with a Teen Long Drive Competition. During registration, we asked for the junior’s school or hometown, favorite athlete, favorite motto or quote and choice of song. I introduced each participant using their background, personal preferences and accompanied by their favorite music. The music continues during their time at the tee. No quiet time here! We had 20 juniors compete and they all had a blast. It was a great event to kick off our Teen only activities.
The winter was a real challenge since no one is playing golf. I decided to hold a Teen Junior Golf Bowling and Pizza party. Yes, nothing to do with golf but everything to do with building friendships and having fun. To increase participation, we asked each junior to bring a friend.
We wanted to use the spring energy to vitalize the enthusiasm for the upcoming season. Our first event was a Glow in the Dark Putting and Pizza Party. We wanted to kick off our season with a fun event that current and former teen players could attend. We set up three holes with fun designs. The teens played an alternate shot format. The low three teams then had a sudden death playoff for first, second and third place. Many former players participated and decided to return to the program. Guess they forgot how much fun we have!
During the summer, we will conduct the 2nd Annual Teen Long Drive Competition, Pro-Juniors Tournament and Two Person Team Championship. The Pro- Juniors tournament is an annual event with one pro and four juniors that play a nine hole scramble. The Two Person Team Championship is a team event with a Ryder cup style format. The teams will play six holes alternate shot, six holes scramble and six holes best ball of the twosome. The juniors can invite a friend as their partner and perhaps they will become interested in the program.
One of our junior golf goals for 2015 is not only to grow the game with new juniors but keep our teenagers in enthused in different formats and activities. We have found that if we supply the fun and food then the friendships and golf will follow.