Rhett Myers is the PGA Owner/Operator and PGA Head Professional at the Vassar Golf Course in Poughkeepsie, New York.
As PGA Professionals, we focus on many demographics of golfers, very often highlighting youth golfers as the future of the game. However, creating programs geared specifically towards women is very often just as vital to golf facilities of all sizes. The Vassar Golf Course, located adjacent to the Vassar College campus, is just over 2,500 yards in length. We offer a customized series of one-hour women’s clinics that focus on the fundamentals of the game, as well as any other topics requested by the students. We cover basic Rules and etiquette, as well as short game, putting, full swing, and on-course instruction in our three-session program. One session per week is scheduled, which allows the participants ample time for practice in between lessons. I tell my students that golf is like most things, the more effort they put into it, the better they will become. I encourage them to balance practice and lessons and as their scores go down, their enjoyment for the game will go up. Holding these sessions in the early evening allows us to use the first few holes of the course. Most beginners are just as concerned about what to do with their bag on the golf course, where to put it, and how to carry it, as they are with hitting a quality golf shot. Upon conclusion of the three sessions, I invite the group to return for a free round of golf to get reacquainted with new friends and to test their newly acquired skills.
Designing a program geared to the needs and desires of a specific group of golfers aids in getting people to sign up. Word of mouth spreads about previous clinics and before you know it we have a full group for the next three-session program. We charge $95 per student and can rely on 12-15 new golfers coming out of these sessions annually. They sign up with friends, and return often to continue the fun. There is a nice mix of new golfers and some of our existing women who come back time and again to hone the skills they may have learned just last year. The motivation they feel after learning something new brings them back to play during the week. Rounds at the course are positively affected by women’s clinic participants coming out between their lessons and very often well after the clinics have ended. Sometimes they play with their spouses or even their kids. That allows us to promote our youth programs, other clinics and leagues and private instruction of course. With affordable golf programs and reasonable greens fees, a walkable course and a beautiful setting, we are growing the game grass roots style, welcoming our customers, listening to what they have to say and providing an enjoyable experience every time they visit Vassar.