For as long as she can remember, Laura McCrary has thought of her son, Ian, as a golfer. He started playing at a young age with his older brothers, and since Laura and her husband, Mike, were not golfers themselves, they were introduced and fell in love with the sport through their kids. Ian heard about Youth on Course through friends, signed up back in 2016, and since then has played over 300 rounds of golf through Youth on Course!
“[Golf] is one of the greatest sports in terms of hard work paying off and showing to young people that it really does matter if you work hard”, Laura says. “We could not be more proud of him. He has good grades and good friends, he never gets in trouble. He’s a kid that you can look up to. We attribute a lot of that to golf.”
For the McCrary family, affordable access to golf has impacted them in many ways.
For Ian, Youth on Course has made it possible for him to play as much golf as he wants, and use those 300+ rounds to improve his game. After winning his regional high school tournament as a Sophomore, Ian says that his passion for golf was ignited. That summer, he played 18 holes every day saying he “probably picked up a good 10 shots just that first summer going out and playing every single day” – something Laura says would not have been possible without his Youth on Course membership.
“Golf is a very expensive game. Even if a family has a lot of resources it’s still expensive. YOC made it reasonable for Ian to play everyday, which is really required to get to the level that he’s at, where he’s competing for a college scholarship and winning tournaments….you really have to play every day. That would not be possible for most families and it wouldn’t have been possible for us. There’s not a question about it. YOC has made it possible for him to be where he’s at – 300 rounds, right? 300 rounds of golf that he’s played using YOC. A lot of his friends who are really good golfers as well have used YOC to that same extent and I would say that it has made a significant difference in our lives being able to utilize YOC because Ian has become the golfer he is, and he would not have been without Youth on Course.”
For Laura and her husband/Ian’s Father, Mike, a Youth on Course membership has meant more than opportunities for Ian to practice. It has created a space for a father and son to spend time together outdoors and an environment to open up.
“Golf fosters a lot of bonding especially for parents and kids,” Mike says. “It’s one of those activities that you can do a lot of talking and bonding which is good for teenage boys who don’t always like to sit and talk. Playing golf with them is a great way to talk about other things going on in your life. YOC gives a lot of families opportunities for things like that they may not necessarily see as an option.”
For Laura, being able to be there for her son through the ups and downs of competitive golf has been an impactful learning experience.
“It’s challenging because you want to be there for your son but this is such a personal game that a lot of times he’s going to actually be processing it himself and the best thing we can do is remind him there’s another tournament, another opportunity, another chance, and just let them talk when they’re ready. They’ll tell the story. You want to be there to talk through that with them to help them realize that the next time they are in that situation, how can they remember and do it a little bit differently.”
Laura says that the level of golf that Ian has risen to with the help of Youth on Course will have a positive impact on his future. She says golf will get him to a good college, get him a good education, and potentially a chance to play professionally.
When that happens, Youth on Course will be cheering him on.
Ian’s most recent success on the golf course was winning the 2020 JGAC Tour opener last week in Colorado. He posted rounds of 72-69 for a 3-under-par 141 total, which was good for a three-stroke victory.
*Feature image courtesy of UHYPrepSeries.com.