David Ledbetter was on XM this morning with Peter Kessler and had a good point about junior golfers in North America. He points out that, in general, junior golfers cannot join golf clubs in North America unless their parents are already members. In almost every other market in the world juniors can join at a reduced fee and therefore get the benefits of a practice facility as well as club tournaments to hone their games. I think that it is in Norway that it is mandatory for clubs to have a minimum of 10% membership.
Certainly their are maintenance costs that have to be considered but there must be a way to get juniors out more regularly so that they can enjoy the game.
I know that my own 10 year old would benefit from having an opportunity to play competitive rounds that would help encourage him to enjoy the game more. Even father/son or parent/child best ball tournaments at private and public courses would be a good way to get kids on the course (I know that some private courses do have these tournaments but if the game is going to really grow, these kinds of tournaments need to be happening on courses more accessible to the public.)
The New York Times piece from yesterday talks about the decline in the game in the US while the RCGA says that the Canadian game isn’t in as rapid of a decline. Making golf a family affair (just like how Bobby Jones took up the game) is one of the answers as to how to help grow this great game of ours.