I’ve long wanted to get my kids involved with golf.
My daughter first hit balls when she was three, and she and her brother went to an introductory golf camp two years ago at RiverBend, the course near our home in London.
This year I wanted something more. I pondered a variety of options. It is always difficult for parents to figure out the best extra-circular activities for their kids, and there’s no Trip Advisor to tell you what your child will enjoy and what they’ll loathe. What camp will they complain about and which camp will simply suck away your cash and leave your kids coming home telling you they were bored and hot? That’s why my wife spends so much time trying to find the right camps that offer value and stimulate our kids.
I’d heard about TGA for some time, and have had the good fortune to meet its smart and entrepreneurial (and opinionated) founder Josh Jacobs. I liked Jacobs, who devised TGA as a series of after-school golf programs for kids in and around Los Angeles. The program has really taken off in the U.S., and was franchised to Canada, with Sault St. Marie and London coming on board.
London is run by a former teacher, Brian Miller, and an entrepreneur and professor of finance, Joe Barnes. Both are engaging, smart gents with the dual goal of growing golf and creating an interesting business. It hasn’t been entirely easy. London’s school system has been reluctant to allow the business to use its gyms for after-school programming, as has been the case in the U.S. and in the Sault.
While they do run programming throughout the year at schools in London, they’ve really done nicely with the summer programs. Knowing Jacobs’ philosophy, and understanding how Barnes and Miller have put it into practice in London, I elected to have my kids, a daughter, 11, and son, 7, take part in their all-day golf camp at a range not far from our home in the west of London.
Next week: the TGA experience and what separates one golf camp from another