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.

Golf World (UK) - - THE SPIN -

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.

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