Youth on Course

How Youth on Course is Getting More Kids Golfing with $5 Rounds

Growing up, I wasn’t a golfer. I was a tennis player.

My mom was a tennis fanatic, so from the age of 7 that’s what I did.

I always had an interest in golf, but there weren’t many opportunities to go out and play.

Growing up playing tennis however, was one of the bests gifts I received as a kid. Not only is it a sport I can play for a lifetime, but the lessons I learned growing up at a tennis club are some that have served me ever since.

Learning things like manners, etiquette, and how to interact with adults are skills I might not have received elsewhere. Later on this landed me jobs, internships, and essentially just made me comfortable around people that I could learn from and who could help further my career.

When you grow up around golf, it instills the same thing. Probably even more so than tennis.

On a golf course there are dozens of little nuances and things you need to learn. Etiquette is even more important than it is on a tennis court.  There also isn’t a better sport out there if you want to be able to socialize and get to know successful people. 

I think all kids will learn important life skills when they spend a bit of time on a golf course.

But despite changes in the right direction, golf still has an access issue – on multiple levels.

At the most fundamental, it’s expensive. To send your kid out to play everyday can add up in a big way.

On top of that, because of the aforementioned rules and etiquette nuances, it takes awhile to get a kid to the point where they’re able to go out on the course on their own. And if they don’t have a chance to play from a younger age – they might not go out at all.

Then, there’s the learning curve. It can be steep. And for kids who already have short attention spans, it can take awhile to get them to the point where they’re excited to go out and play.

Those are some of the reasons didn’t pick up golf until later on in life. The opportunities simply weren’t there.

What is Youth on Course

Fortunately, a lot of things have changed over the last two decades.

While I was down at the PGA Show in January I had a chance to talk briefly with the team from Youth on Course.

I wasn’t familiar with the organization before this, but essentially their mission is to provide kids with more affordable opportunities to play golf.

At it’s most basic level, Youth on Course is a membership for kids ages 6-18, and it gives them access to over 1200 golf courses across the country for only $5 per round.

Membership varies a little bit by state, but it ranges from $5-30 a year. 

And once your kid is a member? A world of golf opportunities opens up.

I know if I were able to go out after school and play golf for $5 a round, that would have made the sport much more accessible and I might have taken it up much earlier.

How Youth on Course Works

The organization is a 501(c)3, so it’s a non-profit organization that works to get more kids golfing.

Most of the courses have some restrictions, like you can only play on certain days, or certain times of the day. But that’s hardly an issue, and considering many of the courses involved are world class facilities, it’s pretty cool to see them provide kids with those kind of opportunities.

For instance some of the member courses are:

Just to name a few. 

Can you imagine as a kid having the opportunity to play a historic course like Bethpage? I mean, it’s one you would need to work up to, but making some of the most historic and highly regarded courses in the game available to families who might not otherwise be able to experience it is a pretty special thing.

Here’s the full map of courses that participate:


On top of that, they help kids get work as caddies, and also have a substantial program to help them get paid high school and college internships.

I found these stories of kids from the program to be pretty insightful and inspiring.

How You and Your Kids Can Get Involved in Youth on Course

I wanted to write this post simply to introduce Youth on Course to people who might not be familiar with it, because up until recently, I wasn’t.

They’ve partnered with The First Tee, and some courses have other special Youth on Course benefits, so they’re not just providing access. In many cases they’re also helping with instruction, equipment, and teaching kids the ways of the golf world.

If you’re interested in learning more, you can check out their website here and see all that they have to offer.

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