“We looked at a couple of different things that were going wrong and the first was the cost and the second was that there were too many other options out there for kids,” Gary McFarlane, the club’s head pro and secretary, explained to UK Club Golfer.
“We decided to bring the price down to £20 to join for the year as a junior member. The other thing we needed to change was the old stipulations on age, dress code and tee times. We tried to get rid of that stuffiness to create a more friendly environment.”
To further welcome the kids, a practice facility was been created featuring nets, a bunker and short game area. As well as this, a new miniature six-hole course was created solely for junior sessions. It’s all about creating a pathway from our practice area, right through to getting out on the actual golf course. We have had a great response from both the children and the parents.
“We have actually had to create a waiting list for our junior section at the minute as we won’t be able to provide the same level of quality if we are inundated. We had about 40 kids turn up to our first session, which was brilliant.”
McFarlane added: “I would say to clubs who want more juniors in the door that it comes down to costs. Don’t overcharge for your junior membership, get the numbers in and get someone who’s enthusiastic behind it like your professional or junior convenor. We have that here at Clober and it’s working for us. You have to let the kids get out there and play.”
The club’s junior convenor, Grant Rutherford, who has been a member for over 40 years, says the club is trending in the right direction.
“The kids that we have are at a great age and they are mad keen,” says Rutherford. “They are up at the club all the time and we have a lot of juniors up at night and the twilight hours. It’s now adding to the feelgood factor around the club. I’m getting great feedback from parents and members saying its brilliant. It’s all good and positive for a change, given what golf has been like over the last few years.”