Junior Leagues

jack-barberJack Barber, the 2009 PGA Golf Professional of the Year, is the PGA head professional at Meridian Hills Country Club in Indianapolis, Ind.
We started a new junior program this year, taking the concept initiated by The PGA of interclub team play (PGA Junior League Golf) and forming our own league at Meridian Hills based on how many juniors we have wanting to participate. We had 48 kids, ages 7-13, divided into four teams, with me, two assistants and an intern each coaching one of the teams. Each of us is on a different golf equipment staff, so I have Team Titleist, and there’s also a Team Callaway, Team Nike and Team TaylorMade. Kids love to play team sports, and so we’re trying to use this concept to teach them the game and start a lifelong relationship with it. They love to wear a uniform and love to have their own number, so each team has its own color uniforms and each junior has a number. We have designated practices and designated play days, and it’s a scramble concept, which makes it more fun and takes some of the pressure off the kids having to keep track of their own ball.

As a PGA Professional, I know the key to growing your membership is through women and kids. This is my 28th year at the club, and the membership has changed dramatically over the years. In the last 5-8 years, we’ve had a lot more young families coming in, and it’s important to engage them and use this opportunity to grow the game at our club. The success of the junior program this year had a terrific impact of the sell-through of junior clothing, which we stocked more this year than in the past, and we had tremendous sales in the area of special orders. Overall, our junior clothing sales increased approximately 15 percent. We had an increase of 20 percent in junior clubs. With the excitement of a new junior program, we also saw a 10 percent increase in junior lessons. This new program, along with the addition of our new family and junior TEE IT FORWARD course, created positive activity in our dining room with increased food & beverage sales.

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