Though not all the approximately 2.5 million juniors who play golf in the United States will have the chance to play competitively, many will go on to enjoy the game for the rest of their lives—many, but not all.
Unfortunately, kids and families across the country much too often find themselves unwillingly pushed out of the sport due to a lack of access to courses and the inability to keep up with the financial commitment required to learn, practice, and play golf—not to mention the unknowable number of others who never had the chance to start playing the sport at all.
While other youth-focused golf groups like The First Tee, LPGA*USGA Girls Golf, PGA Jr. League, and similar community-based organizations help introduce and keep kids involved in the game, Youth on Course is designed specifically to help young people and their families afford their passion for golf through their four guiding pillars of development: Play, Learning, Relationships, and Inclusion.
Believing in the power of play, Youth on Course’s 95,000 members have enjoyed over one million subsidized rounds of golf for $5 or less across 1,400 golf courses across the US and Canada.That affordable access to courses in turn provides young people with more opportunities to experience life lessons that are taught in the way only a golf course can.
Participating Youth on Course facilities range from municipalities to some of the most sought after courses across the country including TPC Harding Park, home of last week’s PGA Championship, Chambers Bay, Bethpage, Poppy Hills, and Pinehurst to name a few.
Establishing connections and exploring career interests are additional opportunities for young people to learn skills that they can carry with them on and off the course. Youth on Course’s caddie and internship programs have helped more than 900—237 in 2019 alone—of their members to gain invaluable work experience while developing their communication skills, responsibility, and confidence.
As anyone who plays golf will tell you, the game isn’t just about what you do on the course but the relationships you can only build over 9 or 18 holes. Youth on Course’s subsidized rounds make golf accessible to the whole family as seen by the more than 40% of members who play golf with an accompanying adult. 82% of members also report that Youth on Course has helped their family spend more time together.
Youth on Course’s delivery of affordability for young people and their families to access the game naturally lends itself helping to create a more inclusive landscape for golf. Beyond $5 rounds, members graduating high school are eligible for the Youth on Course college scholarship program, which since 2008 has awarded nearly $2 million to 262 deserving individuals to pursue higher education, especially for students who will be the first in their families to attend college (42% in 2020) and students of color (70% in 2020).
Golf can serve as the backdrop for countless positive experiences for kids and their families. This goes beyond lowering your score or getting a hole-in-one—it always has. With programming in 37 states across the US plus Canada Youth on Course knows that by breaking down the barriers that prohibit junior golfers from pursuing golf they are really setting the stage for young people to have fun, build their self-esteem, spend more time with their loved ones, and enter the world with confidence.
“Once we began, it took no time at all for our youth rounds to grow. Our youth play has increased three fold and continues to do so. Another benefit is we are seeing more families coming out versus individuals. Our demographics have begun to change to a younger clientele and there is no doubt in my mind Youth on Course has a hand in that change.” – Gilbert Urbano, Course Manager – Emerald Lakes Golf Course – Elk Grove, California
“As a single mother I am incredibly thankful for the opportunities my son has benefited from since middle school through college. Elijah has had tremendous opportunities throughout the years thanks to the mentorship he received as an intern and caddie through Youth on Course. Most importantly, he continues to give back into his adult years to help create opportunities for other Youth on Course members to benefit the same ways he did.” – Patty Zevalos, Youth on Course Parent
“Working as an intern opened my eyes to the history and business behind the golf industry as well as how the golf community is continuing to evolve. As an intern for Youth on Course, I developed skills including data analytics and focus group leading. Additionally, I have learned how to use data and research to guide the decision-making process. Throughout my college experience and beyond I will be able to use my new research, leadership, and networking skills to gain a competitive edge in the business community. “ – Allison McInnis, Youth on Course Intern and Scholar