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September 12, 2019

Matt Walter: Offer Youth Program Monthly Payment Options

Matt Walter, the 2014 PGA Tennessee Section Youth Player Development Award Recipient and a 2015/2016 Top 50 U.S. Kids Instructor, is the PGA Tennessee Section Junior Committee Chairman, the Middle Tennessee Chapter Secretary, and a PGA Teaching Professional at Vanderbilt Legends Club, in Franklin, Tennessee.

Matt Walter on the importance of offering youth program monthly payment options:

As a Tennessee Section Junior Committee Chairman and a Top 50 U.S. Kids Golf Instructor, I have facilitated many active and bustling youth programs at past facilities. Some of them have supported almost 200 young participants at one time. One problem I faced was that some of these individuals would show up for summer golf camp, and not be seen the rest of the year. To truly engage our youth golfers at Vanderbilt Legends Club, I have derived a youth program that compels kids to commit to improvement and allows parents the opportunity to pay on a monthly basis. Our program runs from April to August and costs $450 per month. Youth golfers enjoy two private one-hour lessons, one 9-hole playing lesson, and three group practices per month. With a clear focus on all aspects of the game at the private and playing lessons, we focus on shots from 100 yards and in during the group sessions, emphasizing the importance of that aspect of their game. Families must commit to three of the five months and they do not have to be consecutive, allowing for school, other sports, or vacation time. They can forgo the monthly playing lesson and pay $350 for the month, an option only a few of the families choose due to time constraints and scheduling conflicts within the month. I post a schedule of six group sessions from which they choose their three and register in advance. Between the three-month commitment, the monthly payment, and the group session selection, parents and their youth golfers are making a pledge to attendance, practice, and improvement. As they approach middle and high school age, most of our youth participants will opt for an exclusively private package, allowing me to focus on the next steps that will propel them to high school success, and ideally college golf.

Matt Walter on the business impact of offering youth program monthly payment options:

This youth program is open to members and non-members alike. We have almost two dozen committed youth golfers participating in the monthly program this year and are seeing growth as word spreads. Our broader youth program introduces the game to kids of all ages and serves as a feeder to our monthly plan. In addition, we recently implemented a winter program that engages kids twice weekly from December to March, also aiding in our summer success. We had fourteen youth golfers paying $1,600 each to participate in the winter of 2018-2019. We recognized new club sales of over $40,000 last year as our youth players grow out of their U.S. Kids Clubs and require a full set to advance their growth in the game. We have kids playing in the U.S. Kids Junior Tour, and as our students improve, word spreads and the program grows even more. Finally, with youth participation often comes interest from mom and dad. Gaining their business in lessons, club sales, and even food & beverage revenues makes our growing youth business a winner across the board.

If you would like to email the author of this Best Practice directly, please email mattwaltergolf@gmail.com