Art Rego, a three-time Aloha PGA Section Youth Player Development Award winner and a two-time Section Public Merchandiser of the Year, is the PGA Head Professional at the Waiehu Municipal Golf Course in Wailuku, Hawaii.
Art Rego on the importance of using special equipment with youth golfers:
Several years ago I started to realize that our youth golf program wasn’t growing, despite the great expense that comes with conventional advertising. With so many other sports and activities available to today’s kids, I felt it was vital to the growth of the game to proactively seek them out. Three years ago, I began working with our local schools to teach their students the game right in their gyms and on their playgrounds. With the use of SNAG Golf equipment, I have taught almost 2,000 kids, 3 days per week, 1-3 hours per day, going over everything from putting and chipping, to the full swing. I get others pros to assist, who also help promote the game beyond our school instruction. Most of the kids we teach in schools are unfamiliar with the game, so it is a major triumph when we start seeing them at our facilities. They are actually excited about learning how to play golf. In addition, we went to 13 different locations of a youth summer camp called “Summer Pals”. Of the 2,000 available kids, almost half of them signed up to learn golf. The feedback has been so great that I am planning on two visits to each camp next year.
Art Rego on the business impact of using special equipment with youth golfers:
The business impact of volunteering our time and bringing the game to the youth of our area is a long-range impact. These kids are the future members of our clubs, the future customers of our municipal courses, and the future golfers of America. With so many other activities available, it so important to be as proactive as possible. Our facilities are seeing kids coming to play on a Saturday afternoon with parents and siblings who might otherwise not have been there. This is revenue that is directly attributed to our efforts in schools and camps. At my facility, I run an 8-week youth golf program that costs $110 for the two months. The beginners spend the time learning on the range, whereas the intermediate and advanced golfers split those 8 weeks between the range and the course. With over 40 kids involved, I am building a program that needed a boost. Taking the game into the schools was that boost, and we are seeing the rewards of those efforts. After several years of doing this, I see that kids want to play. As PGA Professionals, it is imperative to introduce the game to as many kids as possible. This exemplifies growing the game.
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