2nd Youth & Family Golf Summit delivers world's top experts in science of learning and growing youth participation

By Michael Abramowitz
Published on
2nd Youth & Family Golf Summit delivers world's top experts in science of learning and growing youth participation

ORLANDO, Fla. – The 2nd Youth & Family Golf Summit concluded Monday with a comprehensive discussion on the science of learning; the art of teaching; and establishing a mindset to grow the game. The two-day event was an opportunity for more than 200 PGA and LPGA Professionals to learn the latest innovations in instruction from 37 of the world’s most foremost experts on youth and family golf. Presenters were from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Spain, Costa Rica and Kenya.
A think tank-style exchange of ideas to grow youth participation and refine methods of teaching defined the Summit.
PGA of America Hall of Fame Member Michael Hebron explained that golf needs to market itself differently, in order to grow participation. “Perhaps the golf industry has promoted [the features of] golf, instead of the benefits of playing golf. Perhaps we have put too much emphasis on perfection over participation.”
A focus on connecting with students and making learning fun was a common theme.
“Coaching is something that is done with youth, not to youth,” added Ryan Graff, Vice President of Program Development & Participant Opportunities at The First Tee in St. Augustine, Florida. “Coaching or learning isn’t something you can do to a participant, but something that can be developed with a student.”
Dr. Stephen Norris, executive vice president and Chief Sport Officer at the WinSport Winter Sport Institute in Calgary, Alberta, demonstrated how promoting the lack of fear to fail and enhancing the desire to succeed can bring out the best in kids, no matter the situation. 
“If we are going to do this, we need a value set that this is really important,” said Norris.
He also cited examples of people who have achieved beyond what most considered the limits of their profession, showing videos of the likes of extreme gymnast Damien Walters and legendary drummer Neil Peart, to demonstrate their drive to constantly succeed and improve, and how this can translate to youth instruction and learning.
 “Sessions like this, and other programs like it, where you talk about how you can make a difference at clubs really enhance the quality of PGA Professionals,” said Cathy Harbin, president of OnCourse Operations in Dallas. 
The Summit was hosted by PGA member and SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio host Brian Crowell. This year’s Summit was expanded to two days to facilitate learning and exchanging of ideas.
“PGA Professionals have been creating golfers for the past 100 years,” said PGA President Derek Sprague, the Managing Director for Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey, as he opened the Summit on Sunday. “They are the best manufacturers of golfers in the world.”
A day later, Summit Chair Rick Murphy closed the event by summing up the importance of growing youth golf. “We are hearing from employers what is important, and it’s clear—player development.”
The 2nd Youth & Family Golf Summit kicked off the 63rd PGA Merchandise Show Week, which includes the launch of a 100-day celebration of the PGA Professional at Tuesday’s Demo Day at Orange County National Golf Club & Lodge in Winter Haven and the PGA Merchandise Show at the Orange County Convention Center this Wednesday-Friday.