Tom Mason, the 2012 Carolinas PGA Section Horton Smith Award winner, is the PGA Head Professional at the Par Tee Golf Center in West Columbia, South Carolina.
Par Tee, the practice range that I own and operate, is a stand-alone facility, but that didn’t stop me from signing up for PGA Junior League Golf when I first heard about it in 2013. After having 12 kids and playing teams from surrounding courses in my first year, I realized that I could leverage the fact that I was a stand-alone facility to help build the program even further. We partnered with other facilities where we pooled together their players and got use of their courses while I was in charge of the program and created a staff to assist and guide the players. Interest skyrocketed and soon the greater Columbia area had enough participants for two leagues: mine and the one I participated in 2013. My staff and I got a larger group of up-and- coming golfers to work with, the Columbia area suddenly could serve more youth golfers and my colleagues and their facilities got more traffic and revenue without the hassle.
In 2014 we had 44 kids sign up and four teams of 10 that played each other as we rotated venues, with a similar number in 2015. The cost is at minimum $75, with individual leagues/operators getting to charge what they want up and above that to cover their costs. The additional fees that I charge above the $75 go to the courses to pay for usage fees along with covering snacks for the kids. I have one rule: the parents who come to watch their kids cannot bring any food or drink. So along with the $10–$15 golf car fees the courses charge, they’re also seeing revenue increases from food & beverage the parents purchase along with some additional members from families who wanted to give their children a place to play. I’ve gained 20 students (and I know my colleagues have gained some, too) along with seeing an increase in traffic at my range. I’ve also become the go-to advisor on equipment purchases for some of these players. So don’t be discouraged if you’re at a stand-alone facility; if you’re creative, PGA Junior League Golf can work for you too.