The caller says, “I would like to bring my 7 year old grandson to play his first round of golf on a regular course. He has had about 20 lessons and just completed the six lesson US Junior Kids classes during spring break. Might you have a junior rate?”
What would most golf courses say? Liability, pace of play, potential damage to the course as the 7-year-old might make snow angels in the bunkers would quickly surface. The majority, of courses, would cite you have to be 12 years of age.
Troon’s response (Daniel Kane, GM and Trevor Martinet) was awesome. “We love to encourage junior play.”
Benny B shot 129 from the 150-yard markers for 18 holes of which at least 75 shots were putts. His touch is awful. His driver and 6-iron are clearly his strengths probably from spending up to 3 hours at the Denver PGA Superstore pounding balls hoping to hit one greater than 100 yards to earn gummy bears. He ran from shot to shot is sheer excitement. He also ran in his sneakers on the green. We need to work on that. Pace of play was not an issue. When you are at 10, put it in your pocket. He took delight in filling in all the divots on Par 3s and meticulous raking bunkers. I suggested he apply for a summer job on the maintenance staff.
At the end of the round his reaction was, “Can we play another 18 or hit some more balls.” In returning home the first thing he said to his Dad Christian was, “When can we play at the Ridge. I had so much fun playing. I don’t know what I liked more: the golf, the grilled cheese sandwich or the mini dogs. The Beverage Cart Attendant was so nice and encouraging!”
The Lesson for Golf Course Managers: The lifetime value financial value of a 7-year-old child to the game of golf exceeds $100,000. What are you doing to break/bend/shatter the rules to encourage kids to play?