For the past 8–10 years, the U.S. golf industry has suffered a decline in the amount of golfers playing golf and in the amount of new golfers as well. The best answer to the ongoing industry dilemma has been initiated through the Northern California Golf Association Foundation. Their initial goals were to raise money for both turf grass research and junior golf programs back in 1989. However, in 2005 the foundation shifted its focus to create the Youth on Course junior golf program. By 2009, the program added a caddie program initiative, high school internships, and an opportunity for young adults to earn scholarships.
Youth on Course’s main focus is for every young child to be able to go out and play golf at an affordable price. The most continuous barrier to grow the game is being able for juniors to afford to play the game. The program’s core competency is to promote and expose juniors to the game at a reasonable cost. Being a nonprofit entity, the program is able to subsidize rounds of golf for juniors through donations and communicating with partnering golf facilities. Its main branding is for junior members ages 7–18 who can play for $5 or less at any of the participating golf courses.
In order to have the accessibility for juniors to play at over 330 courses nationwide, please visit youthoncourse.org/players to sign up. Courses are still expanding, but currently there are courses in Arizona, California, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. Locally, Youth on Course arrived this past summer 2016 in southern Nevada and has already gained 300 junior members access to 17 courses in Las Vegas. The Oasis Golf Club was the first course in Mesquite to be part of Youth on Course as well as all the city-operated courses in St. George, which include Southgate, Sunbrook, St. George Golf Course, and Dixie Red Hills.
Youth on Course has recently been featured on the Golf Channel as well as USA Today for its continued success in allowing junior players the opportunity to play magnificent golf courses for only $5 or less. This is the answer for parents to be able to have their kids be exposed to the greatest game a child can learn. Not only can they afford to play and enjoy golf but Youth on Course will give opportunities to hundreds of young adults to succeed beyond the scope of the golf course as well. Please visit their website at youthoncourse.org to learn more about this expanding program that will soon grow to include not only the western U.S. but the entire country.