Alex Hoyos is a PGA Apprentice and First Assistant Professional at Essex County Club in Manchester by the Sea, Massachusetts.
Entering this season, the entire golf staff at Essex was completely new to the club. We wanted to increase our rounds played for women, as well as begin building relations with the women members at the club. To accomplish both of these tasks, we created our Women’s Starter Series. At a club where both golf and tennis are available to the membership, tennis is often the primary choice for the women members. Most of those who spend all their time on the tennis court and never use the golf course have had the desire to learn golf, but as any new golfer can attest, they have found themselves intimidated by the process. Because of that, we sought out to make this a program where participants would learn about golf, make new friends and become frequent golfers. The five-lesson series consisted of subjects similar to that of a Get Golf Ready program. The first lesson was an introduction to the basic fundamentals of golf and the benefits the sport can offer. The second lesson covered the difference between chipping from the fairway and rough. The third lesson entailed putting and its significance in golf. The fourth lesson split the participants into two groups; one group learned about bunker play from the fairway, and the other learned about greenside bunker play; the two groups then switched halfway through. Finally, the fifth and final lesson provided an overview as to where a player goes before the round starts, what to do, etiquette on the course and the same subjects for what they do after the completion of the round. At the end of the series every student walked away with a packet, recapping the entire program.
The biggest benefit for the club in doing the five-lesson series is its result in a substantial increase in our Thursday women’s clinics. Now that these beginning players from our Women’s Starter Series have been introduced to golf and can begin to see how enjoyable golf can be, they’re going to want to get better and learn more by attending our weekly clinics. We had a turnout of 13 women for our Women’s Starter Series and following its completion, our women’s clinics have gone from having several unfilled slots, to being completely topped out at 30 participants. That goes on to lead to more private lessons and further income for the instructors. The cost for the lesson series was $200 per person which included four, one-hour lessons with the fifth lesson, on-course, being an hour and a half. Clubs were provided for the students that did not own sets. Through the participants, word has spread to their friends at the club and more interest has been generated to make this an annual occurrence. We plan on having an additional staff member on site next summer for the purpose of picture-taking, documenting events and other third-party tasks so that there is a reference in years to come on what should be done or used. This idea is something any club — public or private — can use for women members and guests or perhaps youth golfers to grow the game.