Before investing time and money into youth golf camps to improve your child’s talents, it is important to distinguish what key qualities to look for. We consulted one of our CoachUp golf coaches, Mary P. from Rancho San Diego, California, a TPI Certified Gold Professional level GI3 and LPGA Class A Coaching Professional, for her advice to parents deciding on the best camps for their junior golfers. With experience running a junior golf camp, she answers the following questions that parents should be asking when conducting their search:
1) How many children are allowed at each camp?
A ten to one student to teacher ratio is the limit for a good program. Any more than that and your children may get lost in the group and not receive enough attention from the instructor. So if they are accepting twenty kids per camp, you should look for at least two instructors, and so on.
2) Who are the Instructors?
Many courses will hand the responsibilities of their junior golf camps to the non PGA/LPGA professionals. These instructors could be the Assistant Professionals who work in the pro shops or the college kids who are home for the summer. These camps will be less educational and more fun, given they provide game-oriented programs. If you are looking for a camp to send your children to in order to keep them occupied and out of the house, these programs are fine. However, if you are looking for a program where your child can learn the game of golf and improve their skills, then I suggest you make sure the lead instructors are PGA or LPGA Professionals. PGA/LPGA instructors are qualified and have set educational programs specifically tailored to educate children of all ages and skill levels.
3) Are the camps set up for different age or skill levels?
The average age at summer junior golf camps is approximately seven to eleven years old, with campers being predominately boys. Even though the camps will offer ages five to fifteen or seven to seventeen, the younger ones tend to just want to run around, and the teenagers feel that they are too old to be hanging around with the seven to eleven year old kids. Yet the question stands, do the fifteen and ten year olds have the same skill levels? Do you pair them together? Again, it goes back to what kind of program you are placing them in. I suggest the PGA/LPGA educational program camps for the teenagers and the fun and games program camps with the assistant pros for the younger children. If your younger child has a maturity and skill level to be in a group of teenagers, then sign him or her up with the PGA/LPGA run junior camp.
The LPGA-USGA Girls Golf programs across the USA are based through the LPGA Foundation and the USGA Foundation. They welcome girls ages seven to seventeen, and boys are also welcome to participate. I have also found that these programs are great for the older girls to bring along their friends so they can form their own groups.
4) How much should I be willing to pay for a junior camp?
Their prices vary depending on their location. For example, the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf programs each have their own individual financial systems. They basically ask for you to become a member at the beginning of the year and pay an annual membership fee. There is no set fee, everyone has different prices for different reasons. However, it may be a high fee of $300 for the year, or it could be a $60 membership fee and with a nominal fee of $5-10 for each event your child attends. Again, each program organizes their fees differently. However, it is a non-profit program and grant money to aid the program is given through the USGA and LPGA Foundations, which is why these programs are educational and fun with highly trained PGA and LPGA professionals.
With so many junior golf camps available, it would be wise to first research camps to learn their mission and towards whom they are focused on. Check around your area for the camps available to you and find out who is running them. Ask what are their programs, how long is the duration, and what is the student to instructor ratio. Gathering the right information will help you make an informed decision about which golf camp fits best for your child and your wallet.
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