As the summer season approached, I get in touch with my inner child! Youth golf is one of my favorite parts of being a golf professional. It breaks up the day-to-day operational areas of the golf business and allows me to enjoy the more meaningful aspects of the game through the eyes of today’s youth.
My goal is to run youth programs that are FUN, CREATIVE and ENGAGING.
FUN—is an integral part of all my clinics, lessons, and on-course classes. On the first day of my week-long group classes, I always ask the kids to come up with team names. I am the captain of one team and my PGA-PGM Intern is the captain of the other. However, it is the job of the little golfers to come up with and agree upon their own team names. I have been captain of the “Snakes” team (despite not being a big fan of live snakes) and the “Flying Purple and Pink Golfing Elephants” team. As funny as these names can be, there is real value in their creation, requiring the kids to use skills in good communication and teamwork within just the first ten minutes of camp. And, while fun is definitely paramount, so are the life lessons I instill in all of my classes. Most of the time, the young golfers are enjoying themselves too much to even notice they are learning them, but their parents take notice and are always very appreciative. This really goes a long way for a coach and golf professional at any club.
“One of the most fascinating things about golf is how it reflects the cycle of life. No matter what you shoot—the next day you have to go back to the first tee and begin all over again and make yourself into something.”
– Peter Jacobsen
CREATIVITY—While working in Florida, I discovered the use of baby powder and it has been the best teaching aid I have ever used. The cost is low and the creativity is unlimited. The bottles are easy to use and with one watering of the green, the lines disappear as long as you don’t put too much in one spot. You must use non-medicated power, and it is always good to get the bless of your course superintendent. But using the Wal-Mart generic brand as my go-to brand, I have made everything from a Spongebob (look-alike) to a simple bull’s eye. The kids really love arriving to see what new image is on the green or tee line and having them excited is the best way to start a new day of learning.
ENGAGING—Minecraft is a huge online hit with today’s youth. This game irrefutably consumes countless hours of screen-time inside our homes. So, as a means of engaging young golfers, I enjoy working to recreate those familiar inside screen games, outside on our range and greens. I use many different brightly colored pool noodles in a variety of creative ways throughout our programs. They are used as tools to judge distance or frames to hit within, above, below, or through. Having young golfers engaged in learning the game of golf, while practicing in a language they can relate to, is priceless and effective. And, the benefits to the kids are so much greater than those gained simply building images on a screen because they are building skills they will be able to use for a lifetime outside.
I wish you a FUN, CREATIVE, and ENGAGING summer! If I can help in any way, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.