There are golf clubs out there with little or no structured junior programme, there are clubs and coaches who leave the junior coaching to the least experienced junior assistant and there are clubs and coaches who think coaching kids is the last thing they want to do.
What if they approached the topic from another viewpoint?
What if there was a system that provided them with all the tools and knowledge they need to develop a professionally run junior academy?
What if they were to realise that this section of the population would return a higher income and profit to their retail businesses and the golf club than any other?
Having spent decades focussing on these dilemmas and working on providing solutions, it is time there was a distinct shift in these attitudes. There are many coaches hurting under the current economic conditions, the internet has long been undermining retail sales and the general public is rapidly changing their golfing habits. Memberships are in decline because you no longer have to be a ‘member’ to obtain a handicap and you don’t really need a handicap to play many other courses.
Every single year, there’s a new generation of young golfer waiting to be introduced to the game, but what does the game really do to capture their interest and ensure it becomes one of their sporting passions? You might shout out that it provides free golf in schools, or free golf lessons here or there and open days a plenty. That’s great, it’s been this way for years and years, these initiatives might create some interest, but it’s what happens after that counts.
Think about other sports, a child that starts playing football in the Under 7′s team knows there are teams all the way up to Under 17′s. A child that earns a 25 metre swim badge knows there’s a 50 metre one, a 100 metre one and so on. It’s the same with martial arts and almost every other structured sport you can think of. Now, there’s one for golf, Bitesize Golf is the pathway for youngsters wanting to ‘get into golf’, it’s not only the ‘passport’ it’s their play ‘visa’ enabling them to enjoy a lifetime of great golf.
But why has this never been done before?
It’s a great question and the answer may lie in the fact that it’s nobodies responsibility to do it. Each Union, Body, Federation and Association have remits that look after many various sectors of the game and they do this brilliantly. They even fund many of the aforementioned initiatives and annual one-off open ended events, which is great. The fact is, there has to be an exit strategy, somewhere for these new players to be plugged in to, or they will be gone and lost forever.
The latest pledge in the Golf Foundation’s manifesto is to introduce 1,000,000 children to golf per year! Wow! that’s fantastic, this is exactly why golf coaches should have a structure and the best tools to be able to keep a high percentage of these kids in the game.
Please leave a comment and let’s explore what all this might mean for the game, the industry, your business and most importantly the new generation of players.
Thousands of kids want to play golf.