High school golf often gets a bad rap. Unfortunately, some high school kids are immature, not patient, and often are less skilled golfers than the best junior golfers locally at the course. The good news is that high school golfers are kids that are passionate about the game and are playing the sport competitively. In my opinion, every PGA Professional should coach or get involved with a local high school golf team for the following reasons:
Lessons and coaching – The majority of high school golf coaches are not PGA Professionals. With that said, high school coaches are the main influence on boys and girls who are playing high school golf. If I were a PGA Professional, I would develop relationships with the high school golf coaches in the area to offer coaching instruction and make sure the students and their parents knew I was available for private coaching and lessons. Better yet, why aren’t more PGA Professionals high school golf coaches? Although you make a small amount of money directly from the high school, the external revenue through lessons, coaching, tee times, and otherwise for a golf facility can be significant. Find high school golf coaching jobs
High school coaches need help – There are a lot of great high school golf coaches who love the game and the kids they coach. In our 2019 Annual NHSGA High School Golf Coaches Survey, we asked ~1400 coaches what was their biggest struggle as a high school golf coach. The most common responses from coaches was that they do not have golf course access, course access was limited, or course access was not affordable. I know course access can be difficult to grant as a PGA Professional, but the reality is most golf course are very under-utilized and allowing high school kids range access or even access for tee times at slower times (2-5 pm) when the course is slower could really help out high school coaches and their teams.
There are a ton of high school golfers– According to the NFHS, there are over 224,000 kids who play high school golf. When I am speaking to PGA Professionals, I often hear a lot about the elite junior players and kids that are amazing golfers. What about the 20 high school kids from the local high school team? Better yet, what about the 20 kids on varsity and 20 kids on junior varsity. If we really want to make a change in our game, we need to focus on the masses and not just the elite. I wish more high school’s offered both varsity and junior varsity golf. In my high school 30 kids tried out for the team, but the coach was only able to keep 12 kids since we could only get 3 tee times at the local course. As a result, as an industry, we just lost 18 “potential golfers” who are now going to run cross country or play another sport. It is important for golf professionals to embrace high school players at all levels.
New members & club revenue– High school kids need a place to practice while in high school, while in college and even after college. Entry-level junior memberships are a great way to start. Furthermore, if a high school kid wants to go to the golf course every day, the boy or girl’s family may consider joining the club since the golf course is a safe and secure environment for kids. Parents and kids who go to the course often will spend more money in the restaurant, pro-shop, and other amenities like the pool.
I hope my arguments above were convincing enough about the importance of high school golf. I know not every PGA Professional will care about high school golf or embrace the high school sport, but if this article convinces even one professional to coach high school golf or get more involved with the local high school community, I am doing my job and that makes me smile.