My kids sports schedules are out of control. I have no idea how we ever get anything done outside of run all over God’s creation to get them where they need to be when they need to be there. My oldest plays baseball – practice is everyday after school with at least two games during the week and every other Saturday. The middle child plays lacrosse – practices are three nights a week with a game or two on the weekends. The youngest does gymnastics, which is by far the easiest schedule-wise - her practices are twice a week with a meet once a month. These schedules require either my wife or I to leave work early on a pretty regular basis. It’s like they don’t remember that most parents work. But I don’t mind. It’s what the kids want, so we make it happen. As a matter of fact, if one more sport was included, I could live with it. But that sport would have to be golf.
I’ve wondered for years why little league golf hasn’t really caught on. I certainly understand there are several roadblocks which stand in the way – cost, a course in town, getting times on the course, etc… Lets just say the conditions are not favorable. But with the state in which the game stands – fewer younger people taking it up – courses may want to start considering rethinking their current practices for the benefit of the future of the game.
We all know the game ain’t cheap. So there’s one roadblock right off the bat. It’s not just the equipment – equipment isn’t cheap in many other sports either. Trust me…see the first paragraph. But further standing in the way are greens fees and range time. Neither are inexpensive. This is somewhere where courses could step up and help out a golf little league organization. I’ve yet to play a twilight round at any of my local courses and see the range crowded. Letting a little league golf team use the range and putting green free, or at a handsomely discounted rate, would certainly help.
The rounds themselves are a different story. Obviously this can’t be done at no charge. However, discounting the fees for the local little league teams could only benefit the courses in the future. Problem is, obviously not every town has a golf course. But if there is one in somewhat local driving distance, then towns can combine with surrounding towns to create their little leagues. This would also make the tournaments conveniently at one course as well.
Of course, always in the way is the cost to simply get involved in the game. Polo shirts, golf shoes, clubs, balls, etc.., it’s never ending. Some costs are unavoidable. But again, the courses can certainly help out with many of these – discounts in the golf shop, especially on used equipment, would certainly help.
In the log run, donating some range time and equipment, discounts, and a little cooperation from courses themselves would certainly help to get younger kids introduced to, and involved in, the game. And, in all likelihood, it would also create future customers, maybe even members. A little help for a future golfer in the beginning could pay off down the road, both for the course and the game itself. It’s something to consider.
Swing ’til you’re happy!