To attract juniors, we need to engage parents
Every industry needs a lifeblood of new customers, and golf is no exception. But we need a change of approach to entice more juniors, says Nick Bradley.
One of the secrets to running a successful business is knowing where your future customers are going to come from. In our industry, juniors are the future green fee payers, club members, lesson takers, equipment buyers and golf break takers, but who is pitching for their business?
Initiatives aimed at enticing youngsters into the game have been too few and far between, but the infrequent outreach is only half the problem. The real issue is that the message has been misdirected. In order to attract kids to play golf, we must first gain the attention of the parents. After all, it’s mum and dad who will be paying for lessons, taking their children to the golf club and driving them to tournaments. If parents fail to see the appeal of golf, what chance do we have of getting the message through to the children?
We need more collaboration between golf’s governing bodies. The R&A’s Working For Golf programme, staged during the Open, is great, but who manages the follow-through with the attendees? Is it the PGA pro, the main conduit between the game of golf and the people who play it? Nope. The letters “PGA” do not even appear on the R&A website. This smacks of the left hand not knowing what the right is doing.
The PGA churns out 350 professionals each year. Surely at a time when job opportunities for these new recruits are scarce, the organisation could use some of its substantial membership and Ryder Cup revenues to train PGA pros to market golf to schools, interact with parents and engage with eager teaching pros. Think of it as an investment for the future.
Nick Bradley is Director of Instruction, The Kingdom, Lake Oconee in Georgia.