Growing the game of golf is a popular topic in the industry because we have been witness to some stark statistics over the past few years which suggest that the growth of the game has stunted. We hear about how new players are hard to find, and that people are dropping out of the game. Our friend Ryan has some really interesting ideas on this question, and we are pleased to introduce you to the “Canadian Youth Golf Alliance “programs that he has created. The premise is simple yet exciting – read on to discover the roots of the program, and of course feel free to contact us to learn more.
Golf: A CYGA Tool for Avoiding Societal Risks
By: Ryan Cooney (Founder and ED of the CYGA)
To be sure, golf is a sport that can offer everyone something. When we founded the Canadian Youth Golf Alliance (CYGA) we all had emotional sentiments about how golf had impacted our lives. Golf’s awesome affect on each of us notwithstanding, this blog is meant to be about golf’s objective awesomeness, and its ability to eliminate societal risks.
What does the CYGA consider Societal Risks?
At the outset the CYGA created programs that were designed to help eliminate risks for “at-risk youth”. The organization quickly realized that it was falling into a labeling exercise in the attempt to determine – or, sometimes justify – which youth were “at-risk”, and what they were “at-risk” of. Truth be told, we believe everyone on this planet faces risks; kids, youth, and adults alike. Building upon this assumption the CYGA decided to change its language. We now say, “The CYGA is an organization that delivers programs to youth from at-risk communities”. A simple change in language has allowed the CYGA to continue its focus on solutions and avoid quasi-political definitions surrounding the term “at-risk”. In our quest to identify the prevalent societal risks in each community we pay special attention to risks pertaining to education, employment, and engagement. For the remainder of this blog I will focus on how we are attempting to eliminate risks by creating a high impact engagement program.
Engagement: CYGA Golf Program
The CYGA is an organization that believes golf is a life-changing and lifelong sport. With the social benefits of golf in mind, the CYGA created three streams within its Golf Program.
Please note: Before the youth engage in any of the three streams, the CYGA provides introductory one-day events that expose youth to both the game and business of golf.
- The Mick and Jo Stream: With an homage to my parents (Mick and Jo), we began with a laisser-faire stream for youth. At its core this stream is designed to allow youth to determine their level of engagement in golf. Free memberships and golf equipment are made available for the youth. All they have to do is book a tee-time and show up!
- The Rod and Jean Stream: With one of my best friend’s parents in mind, we created this stream to provide a pathway for those youth who want to and see their game develop. During this stream youth are coached by PGA of Canada professionals and are eligible to receive tournament bursaries.
- The Kowaluk Stream: This stream is one that provides resources for youth who wish to pursue a professional playing career and/or a college scholarship.
Logically, in order for the 2nd and 3rd streams to begin, youth must first engage in the 1st stream. What the reader of this blog should realize is that engaging youth in the sport of golf is a challenging endeavor, especially at the ages of 16-24 when youth programs are scarce at best. The importance of socializing youth into golf was something the CYGA took for granted in the early stages of program development. What we’ve come to realize is that pizza and wings after golf is just as important a tool for creating golfers than free equipment and paid memberships.
Stay tuned next time for my blog on what it means to be a “golfer”. Before then, ask yourself this: What risks does one face when one becomes a “golfer”?
Until next time, be well.
For more information on the CYGA and its programs please visit www.canadianyouthgolfalliance.com
To contact Ryan directly, please email firstname.lastname@example.org