Tarah Miller, LPGA Shares Her Junior Golf Best Practices

NE Tarah Miller HeadshotTarah Miller, LPGA
MCG Academy Assistant Director of Instruction

Falls Road Golf Course

The MCG Golf Academy was formed in 2011 to create a more structured learning environment at our 9 golf courses in Montgomery County, MD. I was brought in at the beginning of the 2012 season as an instructor at Falls Road Golf Course. The first summer I worked at Falls Road, I observed the junior programming that was in place and how our different instructors taught their camps and clinics. At the end of 2012, our instructors met with the Director of Instruction to go over the best ways to add the needed structure to our junior programming. This way, our instructors could provide a similar message to the kids we teach. We were able to focus on four key areas in order to streamline our junior programming and make it as enjoyable as it is informative for our junior golfers. Our areas of focus were:

Junior Camp & Clinic Curriculum
We created a curriculum for junior camps and clinics to be used at all our courses, which was revamped in 2014, and will again be updated this winter for the 2017 season. Changing the curriculum is important to keep the material fresh based on all the knowledge gained after each year, and to keep the instructors excited to try new programming and kids learning in new ways.

NE Tarah Miller 2

Best Practices Meeting
Each fall, we have a sit down meeting with our junior instructors to cover what went well and what did not work well that year. This includes safety, games, activities, discipline, training assistants, registration, etc. Our goal is to figure out what will best develop our juniors and allow for the most amount of fun while learning the game.

Training of Staff
It is important to deliver the best product possible each time a junior golfer attends one of our camps or clinics. We want all the instructors to be able to deliver a common message and achieve specific goals during each camp or class while maintaining their own unique personalities.  We have a training each spring with all of our instructors to cover the changes in curriculum. We also host a “training camp” which allows our new instructors and summer interns to learn from our teaching professionals. In addition to in house training, our instructors attend various industry trainings hosted by organizations such as The First Tee, PGA of America, Middle Atlantic PGA, LPGA, and US Kids Golf in order to broaden the scope of knowledge they have to work with young players.

Equipment
We purchased training aids and items that would allow us to mix in instruction points with games that develop the movements we are trying to encourage. It’s amazing to see when you come up with a game that the kids enjoy while you are secretly developing movements that are needed to hit certain shots on the course. We also invested in new junior golf clubs for all our courses that would allow those who do not have clubs to learn with the best equipment.

The main mission of the MCG Golf Academy is to grow the game of golf. We offer various programs and schedules in hope that there is something that will fit into every kid’s schedule and needs. Our programs are affordable and very often fill. For many of these, we could potentially increase the price…. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. We have many kids that come to over half our summer camps, or every single week of the mini camp after school, or every week for their 30-minute private lesson. We love seeing kids who love golf and are happy to provide the environment for their love to shine.

The junior programs we offer in 2016 and the numbers that attended so far are:

Full-Day Summer Camps
Falls Road: 259 Golfers
5 other MCG Golf Courses: 349 Golfers

Half-Day Summer Camps
Falls Road: 143 Golfers
5 other MCG Golf Courses:  188 Golfers

Mini Camps – weekly junior clinics (Numbers for April, May & June only)
Falls Road: 144 Golfers
5 other MCG Golf Courses: 62 Golfers

Junior League – 7-9 Division, 10-13 Division, & 16U
241 at 7 MCG Golf Courses during the Spring Season (fall season starts next month)

LPGA-USGA Girls Golf of Montgomery County
Falls Road: 51 girls registered to date, 45 golfers in spring & summer clinics

Boy Scouts & Girl Scouts of America
56 Boy Scouts have earned their Golf Merritt Badge during a specialty program set up for the Boy Scouts
28 Girls Scouts have earned either the Fair Play or Good Sportsmanship badges

Private Lessons
All our properties offer discounted junior lesson rates. Typically these kids are also participating in one of our other programs. This allows us to build relationships and the games of these dedicated junior golfers.

High School Golf

  • Falls Road Golf Course hosts a High School Invitation for the top golfers inNE Tarah Miller 6 Montgomery County that all MCG Golf Professionals volunteer for.
  • Between 2 properties, our instructors host clinics 4 different high school teams.
  • Falls Road and another property host high school training camps each August.

 

First Tee of Montgomery County
Not operated by us, but taught at 4 of our courses and taught by our instructors

Montgomery County Parks & Recreation
Not operated by us, but our instructors and courses are contracted to host various summer golf camps.

 

For complete descriptions, schedules, and pricing of our programs, please visit: www.mcgacademy.com

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