Jeff Jordan is the PGA Director of Golf at the Mountain Brook Club in Birmingham, Alabama.
When I came to the Mountain Brook Club in 2010, I made growing the youth golf program a high priority. As time passed, I noticed that many adult members did not know a lot about our youth golf programs. Some were very surprised when learning the scope of our youth instruction and clinics. Because of this, I felt it was important to involve our youth members in some of our adult tournaments. Some served as spotters in our Member-Member tournament, while others served as standard bearers in our Men’s Club Championship. During our Men’s Club Championship, six youth golfers were chosen to walk with the final three groups of the event, giving them exposure to a side of the game they usually don’t experience. It allowed members of all ages to participate in some way in the Club Championship. The kids chosen ranged in age from 12 to 17, and were all participants in our youth golf camps and clinics, in addition to their junior high or high school golf teams.
Exposing our youth golfers to club events has many benefits. The kids get to see events they may have only heard about, and the adults get to know their young counterparts. This multi- generational mingling of Mountain Brook members appears to be spawning new club programs and events. Focusing on ways to incorporate youth members into adult events has opened the door for us to form an “Elite Junior Program.” Our more skilled teen players learn and play together to maximize their progress in the game. We have also created a Member-Junior Tournament this year as a result of the partnership. The inclusion in adult events motivates the youth players to practice more intently, play more focused and learn more aspects of the game. Having youth members team with an adult “non-parent” member will allow our youth program to be showcased to the older members. I’m counting on this to educate our adult membership so they are more invested in our kids and youth programs at the club. Finally, two of our youth members benefitted from the exposure to our Men’s Club Championship. Just a couple years after being standard bearers, they found themselves playing in the event, as a result of winning our Junior Club Championship.