Parent-Child Interclub Play

troy-pareTroy Pare, a member of the New England PGA Section board of directors, is the PGA head professional at Wannamoisett Country Club in Rumford, R.I.

Troy Pare on the importance of keeping parents engaged with parent-child interclub play:
Two years ago, one of my assistants, Devin Beck (whose father was a golf professional for more than 30 years), came to me with an idea he recalled from when he was a child. He said, “Let’s start a parent-child interclub, something a little different than the traditional junior interclubs that we normally do.” So we implemented this program in 2012, and it was a big success. We set up the teams with three children 13 and older, who play from the forward tees, and three children 12 and under, who play from the TEE IT FORWARD tees. The format is straight alternate shot. As a parent and a PGA Professional, I understand that most parents want to drop their kids off for clinics or camps in hopes that we are going to create the next Tiger Woods. As most of us know, the successful ones have parents right there with them the whole way, playing with them and traveling with them. We decided that this format will help the parents become more engaged in what we are trying to teach the kids, and at the same time, it gets the parents playing with their own kids, something we desperately need to see more of as golf professionals. Last year, we had one team drop out the morning of, so I raced home to get my 6-year-old son, Hunter, to play with me. He had never done anything like that before, nor did he care why we were doing it. He was just so excited to play with Dad. I got a chance to play nine holes with my son, and it was one of the best days I’ll ever have on a golf course. I got to see the other side of this, not as a PGA Professional, but as a parent, and I realized just how powerful these type of outside-the-box programs can be.

This program has had a tremendous impact on our kids and their parents.¬†Due to its limited field (we limited the field to 24 players), it fills up quickly, and we get to play here at Wannamoisett and then play at another great local course, which gives our members more opportunities to play with their kids. In general, the interclub play has gotten the members to play more with their kids. Our adult members love to play with their friends, but they forget sometimes just how extraordinary it is and how fulfilling it is to play with their kids. It gets people talking about the program more, which is never bad. Although not a goal of the program, it has increased children’s shop sales by 15 percent. More important, what it has done is reminded the parents of their critical role in helping their kids get better at golf. We can start them in golf, showing them basics and etiquette, but if the parents don’t follow up and play/practice with their kids and reiterate those basics, then the kids will struggle in the game.

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Editor’s note: The above comments reflect the opinion and experiences of the submitting PGA Professional and are not endorsed by PGA Magazine or the PGA of America