The Pellucid Perspective - September 2015 - (Page 4)

player development Youth on Course provides win-win for golf and juniors By Jim dunlap o ne reason the myth of golf being an "elitist" sport persists is that for those youngsters whose parents haven't gifted them with private club access and a member charge number, even the junior rate at the local muni may put a strain on the family budget or junior's weekly allowance. But what if that youngster could play from the age of 6 to the age of 18 for $5 a round, perhaps get a caddie job in between to pay for it, get an internship to buff up the college application and then perhaps get a scholarship to help pay for it? Youth on Course is making all of that possible in a number of Western states, with an eye toward going nationwide. Caddie program provides cash, experience 4 The Pellucid PersPecTive Born in 2005 as an offshoot of the Northern California Golf Association, Youth on Course progressed through a series of incremental steps, adding programs and initiatives and opening it up to the Southern California Golf Association, until it became the principal arm of the NCGA Foundation in 2013 and the decision was made to open it up to other states. Oregon and Idaho have since signed on, along with portions of Nevada, Utah and Arizona, and Executive Director Adam Heieck and his staff are hard at work carrying the message to other state, regional and local organizations across the country. "We think it can be a national model, whether it's branded as Youth on Course or not," Heieck said. "Golf 's major organizations, including the World Golf Foundation, USGA, First Tee and PGA Tour have got an eye on us, but I think they want to see us get into some of the country's other major markets and big metropolitan areas, which we're working on doing. In the meantime, we're working with state and regional golf associations and telling them how we can put this program in their back yards. If they don't have staff or a foundation in place to support it, we're even willing to bankroll it for the first 12 months or so and then turn it over to them. We're willing to be as flexible as we can to grow the concept." Access to the program is simple. Youths in Northern California pay a $6.00 Youth on Course membership fee, get a membership card and a GHIN number, and are entitled to play at any Youth on Course participating facility for no more than $5.00 a round. Southern California youngsters pay more - $50 to join - but are then entitled to the same benefits and $5 greens fees as their NCGA cousins. Other states' joining fees can be even cheaper, such as the free memberships currently offered in Oregon and Idaho. The program is also available to current members of The First Tee, with First Tee members paying just $6 for a dual membership in, for example, Northern California, which is particularly handy since the vast majority of First Tee-affiliated courses are also Youth on Course participating facilities in states where YOC is offered. While the program benefits both juniors and courses, Youth on Course does not ask course owners to take a financial hit for helping to develop the next generation of golf customers. Youth on Course reimburses courses for the difference between their established Junior rate and the $5.00 greens fee for YOC members. Courses may establish their available times for Youth on Course member play. While progress in expanding the program has been slow, it has produced some meaningful results. Heieck said participating courses are generating a total of around 50,000 rounds per year, with approximately 380,000 generated during the proSeptember 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Pellucid Perspective - September 2015

EZLinks acquires GolfSwitch
Youth on Course provides win-win for golf and juniors
Breaking News: Golf is getting passed in technology and information use by...farming
Private clubs struggle to combat the “equity club death spiral”
Payment Processing: Are you confused?
August golf weather impact: Weather and stocks decline
Price is right, but demand still lags in Tampa
Is golf doomed to rely only on ‘aspirational’ golfers?

The Pellucid Perspective - September 2015