Ingleside Golf Resort, The Club at Ironwood and Gypsy Hill Golf Club are offering programs to introduce kids to the game, including free golf for kids 12 and under, a summer membership for youth age 18 and under, and youth golf clinics. All of the courses are reporting higher levels of youth participation as a result of the efforts.
Staunton, Va., golf courses are doing what they can to drive more business with younger consumers, the Staunton (Va.) News Leader reported.
At Ingleside Golf Resort & Conference Center, Eric Cobb offers free golf to those 12 years old or younger, the News Leader reported.
“I try to make it as successful as possible,” said Cobb, who created a shorter-yardage orange tee for younger players and families at Ingleside. “[The free game] will attract adults to play because they have kids and they don’t have to pay for them. It works to have the kids involved in the game. It’s an outdoor activity, and it isn’t Playstation.”
The Club at Ironwood offers a summer membership to kids age 18 and under for $275, which runs June 1 through August 31, and includes the use of the golf course, tennis and volleyball courts, and the swimming pool. Currently, the club has 10 youth members, though PGA pro and General Manager Eric Myers said some youth golfers are playing under a family membership, the News Leader reported.
“I think we personally have seen an increase in young golfers through some efforts we’ve made,” Myers said. “We offer a youth membership we didn’t used to offer. We host more youth tournaments for our young members. We’ve actually seen an increase in participation from young golfers here.”
Ingleside, The Club at Ironwood, Gypsy Hill Golf Club and Waynesboro (Va.) Country Club all host high school tournaments during the fall season, too, the News Leader reported.
Gypsy Hill runs a youth golf clinic from June to August, charging $20 for a set of four lessons. Clinics are kept small to focus on personal instruction. Overall, PGA Pro Wes Allred said he’s seen an upward trend with more youth golfers in this region, the News Leader reported.
“I’ve actually seen more youth in the last two years coming out to the course than I have for a couple of years,” Allred said. “So I think to be honest, a lot of the programs that the PGA is doing, which is to get younger kids golf ready, talking about health and getting out and walking, that’s been a big factor. For a couple of years, I hardly saw any kids coming out to take lessons or get started.”
If there is one big challenge, which affects everyone from the youth golfer, to the younger married husband or wife, to the older player, it’s pace-of-play, the News Leader reported.
“Challenges are time,” Allred said. “With the players coming out nowadays, they have a limited amount of time to play golf. That’s one of our biggest challenges.”
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