Create a Youth Program With a Structured Path
Heidi Richardson on the importance of creating a youth golf program that provides a structured path:
In my 19 years at the Encinitas Ranch Golf Course, I have been fortunate to see our youth golf program grow. From the start, I wanted to create a program through which our youngest golfers could grow and improve, while having fun and creating memories they remember forever. They start in our pee wee clinics, weekly sessions geared towards three- to six-year-olds. We teach the basics of “PGA,” Position-Grip-Aim, and we encourage fun while teaching them to swing the golf club. Our seasonal golf camps focus on kids ages six-15 and are a full week. We offer these sessions over two weeks in the spring, five weeks in the summer and two weeks in the fall. We also offer a Holiday/Winter camp to keep their skills up year round. Each student receives a skills evaluation and personalized lesson plan. As we do in all of our programs, we promote a fun and friendly environment so they can properly and comfortably learn the physical aspects of the game, as well as Rules and etiquette. We even provide a golf course maintenance and architecture presentation by the Encinitas Ranch Superintendent so kids can learn about golf industry trends and career opportunities. Our Junior Prep School is the next level for kids who adequately progress through the seasonal camps. All aspects of the game are covered in further detail, and we introduce various training aids to the instruction and practice. We provide counsel regarding tournament participation and discuss on-course play at a higher level. Progression through this program leads to private instruction and training for the high school and potential college golfers. Through their years in our program, kids have opportunities to play PGA Junior League Golf and girls are also introduced to LPGA/USGA Girls Golf.
Heidi Richardson on the business impact of creating a youth golf program that provides a structured path:
Creating this structured program provides a clear focus for parents, and eventually the youth golf participants as well. We set goals and promote improvement and friendly competition. Among all the levels, we have taught more than 300 youth golfers in the last three years. Many of them sign up for multiple programs throughout the year, leading to about 20 percent of them progressing to private instruction. I teach many high school boys and girls and help them weigh their collegiate options as well. Through the years, our programs motivate and excite the kids to want to play and practice more. They come out with family and friends, increasing rounds and practice range revenue, as well as providing a sales stream from youth clubs and apparel. With so many youth programs and young golfers on site, we offer healthy meals for them to purchase from our restaurant, creating new customers for our food & beverage service as well.