Among other things, organization provides subsidized greens fees for children 6–18.
According to the National Golf Foundation annual report, participation in golf has decreased by more than 5 million since 2006.
The decline is evident, as many high school golf programs are combining their men’s and women’s golf teams due to the decreasing participation. A main cause for this is the high costs that are associated with the sport.
Thankfully, there are organizations like Youth on Course, who are making it affordable for kids to play a round of golf.
The organization provides youth ages 6–18 access to golf for $5 or less at more than 600 participating golf courses across 17 states. They also provide opportunities in Northern California through their Caddie Academy, paid high school internships and college scholarships.
“We really see the subsided rounds of golf as the entry into golf” — Lindsey Novitzke, Marketing Manager at Youth on Course
With growth of more than 41 percent since the beginning of 2017, Youth on Course’s model has proven to be successful. Lindsey Novitzke, marketing manager at Youth on Course, gave us an inside look at how the organization is providing opportunity through golf.
Subsidizing Rounds of Golf
Youth on Course hangs their hat on their ability to provide rounds of golf for $5 or less. They are able to provide these affordable rounds of golf by an interesting tactic of subsidizing rounds of golf through donations. Youth on Course works with participating golf courses to negotiate reasonable rates for their members. By working with golf courses, they can often help them fill tee times that are not as popular so the courses benefit as well. After negotiating rates with participating courses, Youth on Course then subsidizes the rounds with donations to provide the youth golfers rounds for $5 or less.
Novitzke believes that these subsidized rounds of golf provide an entry for youth into golf saying, “We look at subsidized rounds as the start of their golf life cycle and hope that they enjoy the game and get interested in the golf industry.”
Not only is the organization offering up the opportunity to play for more reasonable costs, they are helping fill tee times once left open. A win-win for everyone in the industry.
This past July, Youth on Course had their annual scholarship luncheon where they awarded more than $315,000 in scholarships. The 28 recipients went through a competitive process to be selected out of more than 400 applicants. These 28 future college students received variable amounts of money from a variety of organizations and private donors.
Something unique that Novitzke noted with their college scholarship program is the connection that donors have with the students. Youth on Course and donors stay in touch with the students over their four years in school, with the relationship often turning into a mentorship opportunity for the student that last long after they graduate. To date, Youth on Course has more than a 95 percent graduation rate for their scholarship recipients, much higher than the national average.
Youth on Course members in Northern California can gain work experience through their Caddie Academy. Members who are selected attend a two-day training program, and are then matched up through the Looper App with golfers who need caddies. Youth on Course caddies earn a minimum of $50 per round, with an opportunity to put another $50 into a college scholarship fund.
Along with the Caddie Program, Youth on Course offers youth paid High School Internships with local golf courses. These internships teach valuable skills as the intern works a variety of golf course jobs like merchandising, outside services and agronomy.
With the success of the organization, other sports who are looking to jumpstart their youth programs should be taking notes.
For more information about Youth on Course, you can visit their website at: https://youthoncourse.org/
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