The folks at WE ARE GOLF sat down with Adam Heieck, Executive Director of Youth on Course to get to know a bit more about the Youth on Course program.
This was your first time attending National Golf Day, what did you think?
It was a great opportunity for the industry to come together as a concentrated and committed group. Golf is incredibly fractured but we all had the same message…there’s power in that, and hopefully we were effective in communicating what’s important to us.
Youth on Course continues to grow, how is expansion going?
The simplicity and message of providing youth with access to opportunities continues to resonate nationally. Making golf affordable and accessible for the next generation is something everyone can get behind and the more people learn about Youth on Course, the more excited they become. We receive dozens of inquiries weekly asking us to expand the program because more people are hearing about us. We hope to be nationwide by the end of 2020 and serve 17-20 states by the end of this year.
In addition to subsidizing rounds, Youth on Course offers other initiatives as well. What’s the future look like?
We’re complimentary to many other programs such as The First Tee, PGA Junior League, LPGA*USGA Girls Golf, but we also feel there are other ways to support youth through golf. Caddie programs are incredibly limited on the west coast so we’ve entered that space and are quickly scaling to incorporate hundreds of kids and more than a dozen clubs. Additionally, we award hundreds of thousands of dollars in college scholarships annually. The longer you are a Youth on Course member, the more access to opportunities we provide. Ultimately, we see subsidized rounds, job opportunities and college scholarships for thousands of our members in different regions across the country, all while partnering with the above mentioned organizations.
Youth on Course is now national in scope but uniquely based on the west coast. Talk about the impact that has on the organization.
Youth on Course was started by the Northern California Golf Association, which is among the best golf associations in the world. Our offices are at Poppy Hills in Pebble Beach and the NCGA still provides more than $500,000 in support of Youth on Course. Golf seems to be a bit less traditional out here and there’s more of an entrepreneurial spirit. We’re trying to become an industry leader in the utilization of technology. All of that fosters out-of-the-box thinking and helps us adapt quickly to the needs of our association partners in other states.
What’s the best part of your job?
There’s a lot of great things, but I really enjoy sitting in on scholarship interviews and reading letters or emails from parents. For the majority of our members, Youth on Course is more than just golf. Being a caddie or having access to affordable golf has changed relationships with family members or friends. When you’re at the office, those things aren’t always apparent so taking the time to understand the implications of what we do is incredibly rewarding.