October 30, 2014

Create Steps to Develop an Exciting Junior Camp Program

lee-stroeverLee Stroever, the 2013 Southeast PGA Section Youth Player Development Award winner, is the PGA director of golf at North Palm Beach Country Club in North Palm Beach, Florida.

Lee Stroever on the importance of creating steps to develop an exciting junior camp program:
Throughout the summer, you and your staff may be conducting junior camps, or maybe you have thought about creating a new junior program all together. There are three keys that have helped us grow our junior golf program that I would like to share: having staff and club buy-in to your mission, offering unique programs, and actively marketing these programs. The “buying-in” process has to begin at the top, and my recommendation would be to put the person who is most enthusiastic about junior golf in charge of creating the program. Selling a new or improved junior golf program should be simple with most clubs looking for ways to create new golfers and customers who breathe life into the facility. The next key is to develop a fun and unique structure that capitalizes on the short attention spans of these children. We have had success at our club by putting an emphasis on rotating through different stations, games and contests that include golf and other athletic building movements from other sports. On any given day, we may have three golf practice stations and a day-ending contest like a mini golf course. When you add a few other athletic building events like a Frisbee toss, relay race, or hula-hoop challenge along with some simple fundamental based golf instruction, the juniors are likely to have a great time and not be bored throughout a two-hour practice. The final key to building a great junior golf program is to properly market what you have. Your best weapon will always be word of mouth with the juniors and parents who have attended your camps. Additionally, we have worked hard on growing our email database and social network following, as well as capitalizing on local newsletters and children’s athletic youth groups.

Lee Stroever on the business impact of creating steps to develop an exciting junior camp program:
At our club, the increase in junior golfers has led to increases in other key metrics like memberships, rounds played, lessons, and golf shop merchandise sales. In 2010 we had approximately 40 different juniors participate in all of our programs. In 2013 we had 130 different juniors participate in all of our programs. That’s growth of more than 200 percent in three years! Working with junior golfers can be the most rewarding part of being a PGA Professional, and it can also be the best investment a club makes. These new golfers will rejuvenate the excitement you, your staff and your membership has for the game and will make your club more successful for years to come.

If you would like to email the author of this Best Practice directly, please email lstroever@comcast.net