On a recent trip to Morocco, I was introduced to a grow-the-game initiative that the program’s mentors referred to as “Birdies.” Formally known as Birdies de Mogador, it’s made up of 70 kids, carefully screened as potential leadership in the country’s budding golf industry. For eight hours a week, these kids are being taught to not only play the game, but also manage the game, which includes language lessons and classes on the business of golf.
To #GrowTheGame in the United States has become a popular hashtag. And with the microscope literally and figuratively revealing the dangers of tackle football, combined with successful programs such as First Tee, Youth on Course, Drive, Chip and Putt and other evolving trends, such as TopGolf and short courses, the game’s forecast seems to be improving for decades and future generations.
And as the cloud cover lifts, it brings us to summer golf camps for kids. Where do they fit in? What are your options? And what should you, as a parent or guardian, look for?
“It starts with understanding your child,” says Kate Tempesta, founder and co-owner of Kate Tempesta’s Urban Golf Academy in New York. “I hear people say, ‘Make it fun.’ But what’s ‘fun’ is different for each age. What might be fun for an 8-year-old might not be fun for a 5-year-old.”
Tempesta started a junior camp at Montauk Downs on the eastern tip of Long Island five years ago, which ran for one week. Last year it was up to nine weeks. And this summer it will be 11 weeks. Between camps in Montauk and various locations throughout New York, Tempesta estimates her and her staff will see 1,000 kids this summer.
“I’m thrilled with the evolution of the program. Our mission statement is to empower the children and let them discover the game at their own pace.”
Urban Golf Academy works with kids, ages 4 and up. Weekly summer camps run from 9—2pm, which includes golf, and/or tennis and swimming and prices range from $145 to $180 per kid, per day, depending on when you sign up.
“We aim for joy first, then we might get technical. Which isn’t to say we can’t get to the competitive side of the golf, it’s just not our point of entry.”
Tempesta also offers “Evening Eagles,” which is two days a week, 5—8pm, and it’s $300 per child.
“In the end, do we want better golfers or better human beings? The answer is human beings, and golf is a great vehicle to get that done. That’s just me and that’s the way I teach.”
For more on Urban Golf Academy: www.ktuga.com
After speaking to Tempesta, I also solicited feedback on junior golf camps from my Twitter followers. Some notable names and brands chimed in:
David Leadbetter @DavidLeadbetter
I heard @LGAOrlando has great junior camps.
Students ages 12-18 will be immersed in a week-long program based on Leadbetter’s famed “Holistic Approach” to golf instruction, utilizing 30+ years experience coaching juniors around the world. Leadbetter’s Holistic Approach to the golf swing has helped countless tour professionals and aspiring junior golfers reach the pinnacle of the sport, including 21 Major winners and 7 World No. 1s.” ($2,950 per student.) For more: http://davidleadbetter.com/summercamps/
Arron Oberholser @ArronOberholser
Stanford’s camp is incredible. Been going on for years. I coached at it when I was in college.
Stanford offers half day and full day golf camps, with a focus on “introducing the game to juniors between the ages of 5 and 12 with either no experience or a couple years of instruction.”
They also offer “Traditional Camp” which is designed to cater to junior golfers (ages 8—18) from beginner to advanced. Instructors include the Stanford coaching staff and other DI/DII coaches and players. ($650—$1,800) For more, go to: stanfordgolf.activesb.net/2016_Summer_Camps.htm
@Pinehurst Resort We humbly nominate the Pinehurst Golf Academy Junior & Parent/Child Schools.
@thejcruz89 When he was 13, my son loved every second of the Pinehurst Golf Camp. Best $1,600 for a week you can spend.
Pinehurst junior golf school runs through July, and includes golfers ages 11 to 17. It’s six days and nights and prices range from $1,769 to $1,869. For more: www.pinehurst.com/golf/pinehurst-golf-academy/our-schools/junior-school/
Michael Hankinson @MPHankinson
Hi Matt! The @NTPGAJuniorTour has some of the best camps in Texas and include a starter set of clubs! For my son- it started.
For more: www.ntpgajuniorgolf.com
Chad Anderson @KnoxAreaGolf
@Tennesseepga Jr Golf Academy – great value! Overnight camp for a week, dorm rooms, catering, par 3 course, instruction.
For more: golfhousetennessee.uschedule.com/TPGAJuniorAcademy/AbouttheAcademy.aspx
Francis O’Hara @FOSDGLF
Can’t go wrong with @TheFirstTee
For more: www.thefirsttee.org/club/scripts/section/section.asp?NS=FL
Rollins Golf @RollinsGolf
@PineNeedlesGolf Has a great camp. @PeggyKirkBell is in attendance!
For more: www.pineneedles-midpines.com/youth-golfari/
Inge Beeker @ingewood
Check out @OldWaverlyGC for world class instruction from @VTROLIO and @timyelverton. They have junior cottage setup for camp.
For more: www.hailstate.com/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=205389018
We like the Summer Jr Camps at @TroonNorthGC. #GrowTheGame
For more: www.troonnorthgolf.com/tnjrcamp.html