News from Around the Green

The latest golf-related news, notes, and feature stories from the TGA.

Youth On Course is Full Speed Ahead

Youth on Course

Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise, especially after the TGA Foundation’s success in 2022 in growing the number of participating Youth on Course (YOC) facilities around the state, but 2023 is shaping up to be a blockbuster year for broadening the reach of this life-changing program throughout Texas.

This is the fourth year of the TGA Foundation’s partnership with YOC, a national non-profit grow-the-game initiative that allows kids and teens ages 6-18 to play golf for $5 or less, plus opportunities for paid internships, caddie programs, and college scholarships. The collaboration initially began in January 2020 as a pilot project in the San Antonio area with 11 courses, including all eight that comprise the Alamo City Golf Trail.

As 2023 moves forward, the gained momentum continues apace with a multitude of new YOC facilities introduced in big cities and small towns alike. But that’s just the start of what is expected to be an outpouring of good news about YOC in Texas to arrive this year.

Through the first quarter of 2023, nine facilities have officially joined the YOC community, with another nine in process. When all the i’s are dotted and t’s crossed, that will bring the total number of participating YOC facilities in Texas to 65.

That’s a 38% increase in just three months since the end of 2022, and a whopping 140% jump in the number of locations from the same period last year. For comparison, there were 27 facilities heading into April 2022, and 47 total by the end of the year.

Not so coincidentally, membership numbers are on the rise too. There are currently 2,210 young people in Texas with YOC memberships, which is on pace for a projected record-high of over 3,500 members once school lets out.

The partnership expands upon the TGA Foundation’s current lineup of junior golf development programming, which now includes the Bill Penn Internship, Junior Girls’ Travel Fund, Bob Romero Scholarship, and the Doris Kallina/’Nez Muhleman Scholarship.

Among the new participating YOC facilities in 2023 are Tenison Park’s Glen Course in Dallas, Deer Run Golf Club in West Tawakoni, Tempest Golf Club in Gladewater, Lake Waco Golf Club’s Executive Course in Waco, Blue Lake Golf Club in Horseshoe Bay, and Olympia Hills Golf Course in San Antonio.

There are also three new facilities in the Greater Houston area. They are Hermann Park Golf Course in Houston, Pearland Golf Club in Pearland, and the La Quinta Course at Quail Valley Golf Course & City Centre in Missouri City.

While it’s exciting news for junior golfers in and around the Bayou City, the TGA Foundation and YOC are working diligently to add more facilities. The approximately 10,000-square-mile region is the fifth-most populous metropolitan statistical area in the U.S., and that means there are lots and lots of kids that could benefit from access to affordable golf and off-course opportunities. It’s one of the main reasons why the two organizations will be concentrating on expanding the network in that area.

“It’s rewarding to witness the commitment from the Youth on Course partner community,” said Tai Moran, a San Antonio-based Regional Development Officer with Youth on Course. “With each Texas facility added, we confirm our commitment to access and changing the economics of the game. One can only imagine the impact as we focus on Houston and its surrounding areas.”

But the collaborative efforts to help grow the game by encouraging more facilities to open their doors to YOC members won’t be limited to just the Southeast region of the state. As the geographical diversity of the new courses that have been added so far in 2023 indicates, the continued goal will be to expand the footprint to as many areas as possible in the months and years ahead.

“We’re incredibly excited about the recent signings and the momentum we have in the early part of 2023,” Kilgo said. “We’re so appreciative of all our new and current YOC facilities, but there are still so many areas in Texas yet to cover. We will be working hard to make sure that more kids will have access to this far-reaching program and the opportunities it provides both on and off the golf course.”

Partner courses that provide a nurturing atmosphere where YOC members feel welcome to play golf, have fun, learn, and grow, are helping to ensure the long-term future of the game. They are also realizing an immediate benefit as well.

Because partner courses are in full control and decide when YOC members can play the course at the special rate, they’re able to fill their tee sheets with enthusiastic young golfers during normally slow times. In addition to receiving a monthly check for the subsidized rounds, partner courses report that at least 60% of the time, a parent or guardian joined the junior golfer and paid full price for their round. That means additional revenue from green fees, cart fees, pro shop merchandise sales, and food and beverage purchases.

For more information about becoming a YOC partner course, click here.

It’s a proven win-win relationship between YOC members and partner courses that has worked incredibly well since the program’s inception in 2006. There are currently more than 140,000 YOC members that have access to nearly 2,000 courses across the U.S. and Canada, where they can play a round of golf for $5 or less.

Over the years, YOC members have played more than two million subsidized rounds of golf while the organization has helped generate more than $8 million in tee-time revenue reimbursed back to individual golf courses.

With the constant addition of new partner courses and summer just around the corner, and the promise of long days of sunshine ideally suited for being outside playing lots of golf, now is the perfect time for kids and teens to be a part of the growing YOC community.

Turn the page to learn more about YOC membership, including how the program works, benefits and opportunities, plus easy instructions on how to sign up.