By Vinnie Manginelli, PGA
Encinitas Ranch Golf Course is a busy public facility in San Diego County, California. According to PGA Teaching Professional, Heidi Richardson, a 23-year veteran of the course, the practice facility is busier than ever, with many new golfers coming to the game, taking lessons and seeking continued engagement.
Richardson was considering implementing some new programming recently, even conferring with colleagues in her area to see what’s worked at other facilities. However, with the boost in new clients during the pandemic, she’s been utilizing her already-successful menu of programming options to engage new golfers, as well as many returning ones.
Richardson says she’s been applying some of the great resources from the PGA and LPGA, and hosts a thriving Girls Golf program, something she has facilitated for 25 years. Some of the young participants are also part of an LPGA endeavor called Girls Golf eLeader.
According to the LPGA Girls Golf website, “The eLeader program is a new national volunteer and mentorship opportunity for Girls Golf advocates, ages 13 – 18, who are looking for ways to give back to help their local program.” The Girls Golf eLeader program helps build professional and leadership skills that will aid participants as they prepare for life beyond high school.
In addition, Richardson highlighted her efforts with PGA Jr. League, and more recently, PGA Family Cup. Both promote the on-course experience that has proven so crucial to long-term retention of new golfers. Some of the moms of Richardson’s junior golfers have been getting involved and are signing up for the many special women’s events she hosts, including her patented sunset clinics, with the sights and sounds of the Pacific Ocean always a welcomed guest.
“One of my core programs involves the national organization, Women on Course, which is connecting business professionals through golf. Participation in my women’s program, as well as my junior program are off the charts right now,” Richardson boasts. Both student demographics have long been catalysts for increased programing and play, as women and juniors tend to prefer the company of friends while pursuing the sometimes-intimidating endeavor of golf instruction. However, ask any of Richardson’s students, and they’ll confirm that there is no intimidation or uncertainty when it comes to her approach to teaching. Her vibrant and welcoming attitude takes the pressure out of learning, making room for fun, camaraderie and excitement while bringing new golfers to the range. She is far more than a teacher or coach – she is a mentor to her many students.
“Many new juniors are joining my programs. I ask them if the others in their class know anything about golf and I encourage them to talk about how much fun golf is and how much fun we have learning how to play every day. New kids on the range lead to new moms on the range, and both lead to full clinics and player development programing that builds our clientele for the future,” Richardson highlights.
Richardson loves to share her knowledge with others. In fact, she has written for our publication before, highlighting the wonderful practice facility she, and her students, have at their fingertips.
“My instruction programs take place at our one-of-a-kind instruction center. With spectacular ocean views, our students have access to our large private short game area and full swing range. This type of practice is usually not possible at a busy public facility, so our instruction center offers a great opportunity for clients. Our full swing instruction center offers space for continued improvement and has approximately 20 hitting stations on a beautiful elevated plateau looking west towards the ocean and hitting south to multiple target greens from 50 to 350 yards out, as well as target baskets, windmills and large target yardage signs,” Richardson wrote earlier this year.
For more information on Heidi Richardson’s programing options, log on to http://heidirichardsongolf.com/.