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Junior Golf Partnership a Perfect Score

by Raul Zaldivar and Bo Paprocki

In the Spring of 1993, the Palatine Hills Golf Course, Community Consolidated School District 15, the Illinois Junior Golf Association (IJGA), and the Illinois Section of the Professional GolfersAssociation (or PGA) entered into a unique partnership to develop a junior golf program. This model program, which was developed through the cooperative efforts of these four agencies, continues to serve approximately 120 sixth graders in the Palatine area.

Community Consolidated School District 15

In the fall of 1992 the administration of School District 15 approached the Illinois Section of the PGA to solicit a method of incorporating golf into their physical education curriculum. At that time the school district was introduced to the First Swing Program, which was developed by the Professional Golfers' Association of America "to help students learn the skills of golf and experience the joys of playing the game."

The program provides a manual for each student along with a leader guide which can be used to formulate a curriculum. The curriculum includes several lessons within the school setting with the culminating lesson (or clinic) to be held at the golf course.

School District 15 became interested in golf as a physical education activity for several reasons:

• To expose the students to an activity not normally included in the physical education curriculum;

• To give the students an opportunity to learn a "lifetime recreational activity";

• To develop a cooperative venture between businesses in the community and the school district that would provide financial support, promotional items for the event, and give students an opportunity to develop role models within the business community and the public sector; and

• To expose students to career opportunities that are available to students through the game of golf (head professionals, facility managers, golf course superintendents, etc.) and part-time opportunities that would be available to them through their teen years and into their college years.

The final step needed to ensure the success of this program was to secure a golf facility for the culminating lesson. At that time the staff of the Palatine Hills Golf Course was contacted and availability was determined.

Palatine Hills Golf Course

Palatine Hills Golf Course had always maintained, as part of our mission statement, the promotion of junior golf. We have provided on an annual basis junior lessons, both during the golf season and winter months, and a junior golf league which plays on a weekly basis during the summer months.

When we were contacted by School District 15, we became interested because we saw an opportunity to reach some children in our community who had not been exposed to the game of golf or our facility.

As manager of the golf course I was asked to become in-

8* Illinois Parks & Recreation* September/October 1995

volved in the committee putting this program together and ensure the following.

Staff was fully prepared for the clinic, from head professional to range attendant.

There would be no scheduling conflicts. (It should be noted that this program can coexist with other events at the golf course. In 1993 we conducted this clinic on the same day that 120 golfers participated in our Chamber of Commerce outing without any interruptions to either event.)

Financial assistance was provided so that each student was guaranteed participation. For the clinic Palatine Hills Golf Club waived fees for the use of the practice range and facility.

As a result of these clinics we have seen growth in several areas at the golf course. First, participation in both our junior lessons and our junior league has grown by 15% on an annual basis. Secondly, revenues have increased at the practice range (through July of 1995 revenues are up 9% compared to the same period in 1994).

Although, some of these increases can be attributed to marketing ideas put in place to promote the range, staff has noticed an increased number of juniors using the range and, in many cases, they are accompanied by their parents. Additionally, our teaching professionals have seen increased requests for private lessons from juniors or parents of junior golfers wishing to arrange a lesson for their son or daughter.

Lastly, we hope that through the career opportunities emphasized throughout this clinic, that our pool of potential parttime help increases as these students reach their high school years and beyond.

Illinois Junior Golf Association

The mission of the Illinois Junior GolfAssociation (IJGA), a not-for-profit organization, is to introduce and promote the game of golf to juniors, ages 10 to 19, throughout the state of Illinois. IJGA is governed by volunteer representatives from the Illinois Section of the Professional Golfers' Association, Chicago District GolfAssociation, Illinois High School Association, Illinois Women's Golf Association, and the Chicago Park District.

The IJGA, as part of its' educational program, cooperates in the "Clubs for Kids" program which makes golf equipment available to youngsters being introduced to the game of golf or to those financially unable to obtain the resources to play the game.

The Illinois Junior Golf Association was instrumental in providing equipment to the schools, including clubs, as well as, golf bags, shag bags, and bag tags—all provided following the clinic at Palatine Hills Golf Club. The IJGA also provided financial support to School District 15 for the purchase of equipment needed for the school curriculum portion of this program.

Professional Golfers' Association

The role of the Illinois Section of the PGA was to provide instruction for the culminating lesson held at Palatine Hills. During the past three years professionals from prominent Illinois golf clubs have provided their knowledge and time to this event. These include Butler National, Mission Hills Country Club, Cantigny Golf Club, White Eagle Country Club, Eagle Ridge Inn & Resort, Medinah Country Club, Cog Hill Golf Club, and Eagle Brook Country Club.

Paul Zaldivar is the general manager of the Palatine Hills Golf Course, Palatine Park District. Bo Paprocki is the department chairperson for physical education and athletics at Community Consolidated School District 15, Palatine, Illinois.

If you are interested in developing a similar program in your community, contact any of the agencies or individuals listed below for further information. Additionally, a promotional video of this event has been prepared and is available for review from any of these four agencies.

Illinois Parks & Recreation * September/October 1995 * 9

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