Golf may be one of the oldest sports going and the average age of golfers certainly reflects that, but a group of Kelowna golf courses is hoping to change that with a movement towards getting more kids and more families involved in the sport.
The five golf courses involved in Play Golf Kelowna—Two Eagles, Sunset Ranch, Shadow Ridge, Shannon Lake and Kelowna Springs—are in the second year of a program that provides family tee times in an effort to make the game more accessible to young golfers.
“There are not enough kids playing our game,” said Dean Claggett, the director of golf at Two Eagles. “We want to get kids playing now. If we can do that they are probably going to be a member or a pass holder at some facility down the road. That’s growth in the game and that’s what we are looking for.”
At Two Eagles, the family program has an hour of tee times set aside for families. Sunday, Monday and Tuesdays are available for parents and kids to golf together at a reduced rate while each of the other courses in the Play Golf Kelowna consortium are also offering discounts for family nights.
“It’s a way to get kids to play the game,” said Claggett. “We have barriers to these young people to play the game and we need to take those barriers down. In golf we have been following the traditional route for too long and as we know some traditional things stop growing. As an industry we have to change now to keep the game going for a long period.”
There are also driving ranges in Play Golf Kelowna (The Range, World Beat, Urban Links and Two Eagles) and junior programs are available at the practice facilities as well.
Claggett admits there is a stigma to golf that makes it hard for kids and juniors to exist alongside member golfers, some of which look down on kids on the golf course. But he adds that is another thing that has to change with the times. He says the sport is perfect for families as it can be played together for years and years.
“When my kids and I play golf together it’s an interesting time, it’s fun,” said Claggett. “It’s amazing what you can talk to your kids about when you spend time together. It’s relationship building. Golf is great that way. Your mom and dad can play with your kids or you can play with your kids. There aren’t many sports like that.”
For more information on the family programs at Play Golf Kelowna, check out the web site www.playgolfkelowna.com.