What is one of the most significant ingredients missing in junior golf development?—accessibility.
The programming exists, yet the primary challenge remains connecting Canadian youth to welcoming facilities. Having programs available for registration is only one small piece of the puzzle.
CN Future Links, Canada’s junior golf program, is at the core of youth initiatives looking to fill that gap. Most notably, engaging youth that has previously been introduced to the sport but are unaware of the camps and clinics available to them.
A good place to start is Golf in Schools participants—an avenue for students to discover local, welcoming facilities in their area. Golf Canada and the PGA of Canada proudly offer the following joint initiatives:
- CN Future Links Field Trip program—bus-load of students taken to a nearby CN Future Links facility for an introductory golf lesson by a PGA of Canada professional ($500 grants available from CN).
- Golf in Schools: Professional visit—opposite the CN Future Links Field Trip program, the Professional Visit brings the CN Future Links instructor to the school.
- Golf in Schools: Pass—providing the access directly to the junior, the pass will grant Golf in Schools participants with a free bucket of balls at participating National Junior Golf Development Centres with the hopes of getting the junior and their family out to the local golf facility.
“On the bus ride to the golf club and from what my students tell me, they are as happy as could be to be out here,” said Rory Klatt, Fourth Grade Teacher and Field Trip participant in Oakville, Ont. “I hope they keep up with the game so they can play me when they get older,” he added with a laugh.
“The purpose of these programs are really to give children the opportunity to experience what a golf course is actually like and hopefully spark some enthusiasm to get them coming back and playing more,” said Jeff Thompson, Golf Canada’s Chief Sport Officer. “It’s a great opportunity for facilities to get youth out to their club, which in turn is the future of their membership.”
Linking juniors to facilities extends beyond the program level, as well. This initiative falls in line with the National Golf Course Owner’s Association (NGCOA) junior initiative, Take your Kid to the Course Week. Running from Jul. 6–12, juniors are welcome to golf free of charge at all participating sites nationwide.
***All above junior initiatives align with the recently released Long-Term Player Development Guide for golf in Canada.