Judd Noto: Grow Your Youth Golf Program

Judd Noto is the PGA Head Professional at the Woodstock (New York) Golf Club.

At the Woodstock Golf Club, our youth golf program has grown steadily since its inception six years ago. Every spring, one of our most dedicated members organizes a weekly league for kids ages eight through 18. What makes our program special is that it provides the opportunity for parents to play with their kids each week. “Fun with Family and Friends” is the theme of our youth golf program. Our goals are to get families on the course together, grow the game and build the business. The key component is simple…FUN. We use different formats each week, whether it be a scramble, best ball, stroke, or match play. There’s a Closest to the Hole, Closest to the Line, and even Long Drive contest that the dads seem to enjoy the most, with prizes awarded from the golf shop. We shotgun groups as much as possible, and even have some kids tee off from the 100- or 200- yard markers. Youth league night is the busiest night of the week in our restaurant. Tables are set up family-style, and we serve a menu geared towards the kids. The league runs eight to 10 weeks and trophies are awarded at season’s end. All participants are given a certificate to be “Member for a Day,” inviting them to return for a free round of golf later in the summer. With the league open to members and non-members, this is an extra opportunity to woo the latter into considering joining our private club.

With over 40 participants this year, our youth golf spring league has increased by 30 percent over its first six years. The league costs each player $200 and is open to kids and their families. If we have a guest or non-league member who would like to participate on any given week, we simply charge them a fee of $20 and hope they have a wonderful experience. With participation at its highest, our youth league will render revenues we have not seen before. Golf shop sales are buoyed by weekly prizes awarded. As previously mentioned, our restaurant business is at its peak on youth league nights, with upwards of 80 meals being served to youth league players and their families. The final beneficial business impact to our club is in membership sales. Through its short existence, the youth golf program has led to five youth memberships and two entire families joining our club.