Pat Mastrian on the importance of making your junior program more enjoyable:
Since I arrived at Rehoboth Beach, we have worked hard to improve our junior program. We have summer golf camps and clinics for juniors of all ages throughout the summer. We have continued to evolve the camp to meet the interests of participants and their families. The camp consists of golf and tennis, and we work to teach the players’ etiquette and life lessons. Our clinics run from 8-11 a.m. once per week starting in June and ending in August, and are open to children ages 4-14. Our clinics are on Mondays, because often families will visit on the weekends and stay though Monday to allow their child to participate in the clinic. The juniors are also provided workbooks that we get from U.S. Kids Golf and are guided by instructors, but they can move at their own pace through the three levels. However, in addition to the structured education the clinics provide, we play games, hold contests, and perform skits to make the game fun and exciting. Some of the skit topics we cover include pace of play and other etiquette examples. Learning is important, but it is not a learning environment unless the players are having fun. We have each junior show us their most recently learned skills, and if they are succeeding with that skill, we will let them move on to the next lesson. We want to make their experience include more than just swinging a golf club. While we spend a lot of time on the range or practice greens, the students do get to play holes on the golf course, where they can apply everything they learn in the clinics.
Pat Mastrian on the business impact of making your junior program more enjoyable:
When we decided that we needed to make the clinics fun and exciting, we saw an increase in clinic participants and continuously have 20 to 30 students in each clinic – and sometimes have as many as 40. Each clinic is $20 per student for members, and guests are able to participate as well for $30. In the eight clinics we host throughout the summer, roughly 15 students participate in all of them. For the more advanced students, we have a Range Rat Clinic on Wednesdays, where they can continue to improve their skills. This clinic usually consists of the 15 students that participate in all Monday clinics. Since increasing the students’ passion and excitement for the game of golf, we have noticed an increase in private lessons. We have two students that take lessons on a consistent basis and at least 10 others that take at least one 30-minute lesson over the course of the summer. Each lesson generates $40 in revenue. We have also been able to generate additional revenue through our junior club sales. We keep U.S. Kids golf equipment readily available for junior golfers of all ages, and these sets range from $120 to $180; we generally sell 10 to 12 sets throughout the year to our participants. The families want to see their juniors succeed, therefore they are generally open to any recommendation about club purchases we give them. We are continuing to have 20 to 30 students in every clinic and while we are still trying to make this number grow, we are pleased that the number of participants is sustainable.
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