Alberta Golf brought forward several new initiatives in Red Deer Thursday as part of their spring launch.
At River Bend Golf and Recreation Area, they announced the Youth on Course pilot program, a new collaboration with the McLennan Ross Junior Golf Tour and the Family Festival Rent-a-Hole program.
Much of the future focus for golf in Alberta, as well as a continued commitment to the high-end competitive players, will be on junior golfers and families.
The Youth on Course initiative is a program that started in California nearly a decade ago and has expanded to 1,000 courses across 27 states. It provides youth ages 6-18 an affordable opportunity to play the game.
Alberta will be the first province or territory in Canada to offer the two-year pilot program, giving Youth on Course members an opportunity to play 16 courses for $5 a round. The only Central Alberta course on the list is Olds Golf Club. For more info on the program check out www.albertagolf.org/article/youth-on-course-pilot-program-launches-in-alberta.
“We’re really trying to grow the game get kids into the game and do it in a way that’s not intimidating,” said Kevin Smith, Alberta Golf Director of Communications.
Earlier this winter, Alberta Golf adopted the McLennan Ross Junior Golf Tour and will now operate it, giving the existing tour more exposure and resources. The collaboration allows new and experienced junior golfers a chance to play tournament style golf in a competitive environment. The 24-stop tour will hit Innisfail, Olds, Ponoka and Lacombe.
To get more families involved in the game, the family festival golf rent-a-hole pilot program will rent a hole to a family for a few hours, in an effort to introduce them to the game and cut down some of the barriers that have long existed for golf. The first test for the program goes July 4 at Cottonwood Golf and Country Club. The idea is the program will expand across the province next year.
“Families of six get to rent a golf hole for 90 minutes. They get to experience golf in an atmosphere where no one is pushing you. It breaks down the barrier of intimidation,” Smith said.
“The family is there for about two and a half hours. Breaks down the barrier of time as well.”
For more information about all things junior golf, go to www.albertagolfjuniors.org/.