PGA Professional Dennis Johnsen is an expert in Family Golf Month - it is a recurring theme his facility, Pine Meadows Golf Club in Mundelein Ill., carries throughout the year.
Johnsen, the PGA general manager and head professional, hosts "Family Fun Nights," a weekend promotion where a special course of holes is designed – 100 yards or less - using PGA Family Tees.
Tee times start at 5:30 p.m. on Saturdays or Sundays throughout the summer and a family and one child, 12-and-under, play the course for only $10 per person.
"Family Fun Nights have been a huge success at our club," said Johnsen, in his sixth year at Pine Meadows. "Besides playing together on course, these families are on the driving range together and just enjoying all that the game has to offer."
The facility has hosted as many as 15 families in one night and more than 20 families over the course of a weekend. The club generated 487 rounds of golf in 2009 using this promotion.
"This fills dead time on the golf course with strategic programming that will get people, families, playing together," said Johnsen.
Johnsen has seen first-hand, the program's success.
"My 8-year-old grandson, Caleb, actually beat me on a hole. He made a 3 and I had a 4," said Johnsen. "And, I was trying."
This story is repeated over and over. Dads and moms are practicing with their kids and the kids are trying their best to compete and beat them. It really is fun to watch."
"Family Fun Nights" are just one of the many programs that Johnsen and his staff conduct at Pine Meadows. The club features both a Junior Tour and Collegiate Tour, which prepare players for competition in both high school and college.
"Our tournaments mimic the type of competition these players will be facing when they play on a high school or college golf team," said Johnsen.
We had a junior who came to us shooting in the 120's. She broke 100 in a high school tournament the next fall. That's huge."
Johnsen believes these types of initiatives will help to grow the game and also lead to future members at his facility and other's around the country.
"We hope these types of programs help morph these junior golfers into adult players," said Johnsen. "I think it will."
Pine Meadows Golf Club is one of more than 1,140 facilities nationwide that have registered for Family Golf Month and there are more than 3,500 family programs to choose from on PlayGolfAmerica.com. Throughout the year, many of these facilities promote special rates for junior golfers at $20 or less. Other promotions include "Bring Your Kids to the Range," which encourages families to spend time together playing golf.
Play Golf America's Family Golf Month is celebrating its fifth anniversary in July, encouraging families to hit the links together, giving family members – young and old – the opportunity to learn and play the game in a structured yet casual atmosphere, while having fun.
For more information on Play Golf America and any of the family programs, consumers can visit PlayGolfAmerica.com. The site allows users to find and register at participating facilities in their area by searching their city or zip code.
Play Golf America, designed to increase participation among new and occasional adult golfers, was developed by The PGA of America, with the support of Allied Associations including: the LPGA, National Golf Course Owners Association, PGA Tour, USGA and others involved in the annual Golf 20/20 Conference. The program utilizes the PlayGolfAmerica.com website to serve as a link for consumers to access fun, affordable and informative programs in their area.