Play Golf America’s Family Course Program Makes Golf More Accessible

By PGA of America
Published on
Play Golf America continues to make the game of golf more enjoyable, affordable and accessible to people of all ages and skill levels with the continued growth of the PGA Family Course Program and a partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). The PGA Family Course Program, a nationwide initiative born through a collaboration between The PGA of America and U.S. Kids Golf, offers golfers a “short course” experience through the use of PGA Family Tee Markers. These markers allow any existing course to adapt to beginner or younger golfers by designating holes within the course that best suit inexperienced players, resulting in a more time-friendly and affordable golfing experience. The introduction of shorter, family-friendly courses coincides with Play Golf America’s Family Golf Month and Get Golf Ready initiatives, both of which are designed to make the transition into the game of golf easy for new golfers, regardless of age. To find a list of the PGA Family Courses, go to To date, more than 800 courses nationwide have implemented the Family Course Program. In 2009, an average of 500 rounds were played at an average of $13 per round, resulting in revenues averaging $6,500 at each participating facility. To help expand the program even further, the NRPA has partnered with The PGA of America to award 55 sets of Family Tee Markers to municipal courses across the country, with hopes to continue the partnership annually. The PGA and NRPA partnership will give park administrators access to a variety of supplies, programs and information developed and/or supported by The PGA of America, as well as training on how to implement these resources. “The Family Course Grant program provides park and recreation directors with the opportunity to establish beginner-friendly short courses within existing golf facilities,” said Resa Kierstein, senior manager of partnerships for NRPA. “The program adds great value to the community by providing parents and caregivers a mechanism for getting kids outdoors and engaged in physical activity. In addition, as a direct result of engaging a new set of players to the game of golf, communities receive a wide range of economic benefits, including an immediate increase in revenue and long-term growth and sustainability.” Courses receiving PGA Family Tee Markers from the NRPA are encouraged to use the PGA Family Course Program as a fun and pleasurable way to retain new golfers. “The Family Course Program is great because it enables families to enjoy the game together,” said Brian Bain, PGA Professional in Brookline, Mass. and recipient of PGA Family Tee Markers through the PGA-NRPA grant program. “It would be discouraging for a child to be thrown onto a par 4, 400-yard hole and need eight strokes, but the Family Tee Markers allow kids to play with mom and dad in a way that makes them excited about the game.” Aiming to advance the trend of shorter courses, the Wadsworth Golf Foundation, a nonprofit organization seeking to improve communities through the embodiment of the moral, ethical and cultural codes of the game of golf, partnered with the Frank Jemsek Family to provide Family Tee Markers to 30 courses in the Illinois Section of The PGA at half regular cost. Additionally, the Wadsworth Foundation has begun an initiative called Links Across America (LAA), with the goal of funding the expansion of short, affordable, easy to maintain golf courses nationwide through a growing team of 41 company partners that contribute profit, goods or services to assist in achieving the development or preservation of LAA short courses at a significantly lower cost. LAA is responsible for the development of two active short courses to date, located in Akron, Ohio and Lockport, Ill., and is in the process of constructing several more. For more information on Play Golf America and PGA Family Courses or Family Tee Markers, consumers can visit 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 Web site to serve as a link for consumers to access fun, affordable and informative programs in their area.