How to get more children playing golf at your facility

Jenny Yu
By Jenny Yu August 10, 2017 06:20 Updated

Golf clubs are working hard to attract more juniors to the game. Steve Jackson, who works with organisations that boost junior participation, details what is particularly successful at getting youngsters on the course

Steve Jackson

Attracting more juniors to play golf is high on the priority list of many organisations within the sport.

England Golf, the R&A and the PGA have placed a greater emphasis on encouraging boys and girls to take up the sport, while the European Tour successfully introduced the Super 6 format to make it more fun to watch.

While clubs are allowing their younger members to take part in more internal competitions, participation should be higher. And the British Junior Golf Tour (BJGT) and Shires Junior Golf Tour prove that it really can be.

These not-for-profit organisations, which I have worked with over the last three years on a media consultancy basis, have slightly different ways of running their events, but they have one thing in common – a large number of competitors.

BJGT’s ‘2017 Super Six Series’, which took place in the spring, was sold out within two weeks – the event at Park Hill Golf Club in Leicestershire attracted 126 players.

Shires, which holds competitions in the counties of Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire and Leicestershire, also have waiting lists in place after capping their fields around the century mark.

Why have they been successful when other junior opens seem to fail?

Inevitably there are lots of reasons, including the quality of the product and the professionalism of the organisers, but undoubtedly the key factor is communication with the players, parents and clubs, using all the different media sources.

By taking quality action photos of the kids and writing press releases for the local newspapers, the articles quickly appear on social media – creating even more interest.

If a club wants to hold one of these events, what do they need to provide in return? One Sunday, for free.

Although this is not a ridiculous request, the response from clubs is sometimes ‘our members won’t be happy’ or ‘we would lose xx amount’ if we did that.

This reaction is understandable but, crucially, these fears are without basis. Members typically do not complain when they see young golfers on their course, they love watching boys and girls play golf and realise that it’s for the greater good.

Whilst there is a loss of potential green fee revenue, the money taken through the bar, restaurant, pro shop and driving range (kids loving hitting balls!) will go a long way to offsetting that.

How many of these juniors, and parents, come back to play or join as members is difficult to assess in the short term, but these events can only help.

Clubs need to remember that one tiny gesture of intent could prove to be one of the best decisions they ever make.

Steve Jackson ‘The Sports Journalist’, is a skilled journalist and photographer who can help golf clubs. He has been promoting junior golf through the media for 20 years.

Tel: 0777 5791986, web: www.thesportsjournalist.com

email: stevejackson@thesportsjournalist.com.

British Junior Golf Tour / tour director Steve Adams

Tel: 07747 847857, web: www.juniorgolftour.co.uk

email: golf@juniorgolftour.co.uk

Shires Junior Golf Tour / tour director Paul Bull

email: paul@shiresjuniorgolftour.co.uk

 

Jenny Yu
By Jenny Yu August 10, 2017 06:20 Updated
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2 Comments

  1. Jack August 11, 09:49

    I fully agree the business case for supporting juniors is more than about money its for the long term sustainability of the sport . Its the same for cricket clubs . if you do not invest today in youth boys and girls then you will reap the rewards later in life .
    i fully support both the competitions highlighted both have a different approach thus making them successful side by side

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  2. Golf parent101 August 12, 13:55

    Steve… your point is well made … grass roots golf facilitation without boundary or judgement is still lacking in many non progressive clubs. My daughter started at BJGT events 10 years ago. Yesterday she and 5 other team mates won the Girls Home Internationals for Enland and she played the BMW proAm in May as sponsors invite im front if the next generation of BJGT players. Her progress has not been the result of her golf club … just hard work, and encouragement from individuals and organisations that see the empowerment that Junior golf can give to young future adults to believe in themselves. It is much more than reductions in golf handicaps these backward thinking clubs are restricting. They are ignoring an opportnuity to create tomorrow’s leaders and ambassadors.

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