NGCOA Recognizes Golf Courses at Incline Village, Nev. With 2009 Player Development Award
CHARLESTON, S.C. (Nov. 12, 2008) - The Golf Courses at Incline Village realize today's player development challenges don't come with one-size-fits-all solutions. That's why the Lake Tahoe, Nev., facility has developed a portfolio of programs to introduce golf to a wide range of area residents, including juniors, women, couples and families. The acceptance and success of those programs earned Incline Village the 2009 National Golf Course Owners Association's Player Development Award.
Since 2005, the Golf Courses at Incline Village have started 10 player development programs. "There isn't one magic bullet that is going to bring more players into golf," says Cathy Jo Johnson, director of golf at the 36-hole facility. "It's a combination of a lot of things, which is what we've tried to do here."
Working with the physical education departments of area elementary and middle schools,Incline Village's "Golf in the Schools" program introduces more than 300 students to golf on a weekly basis each year. The program's success led to its expansion to Boys and Girls Clubs in a nearby community. Among the program's participants are children who might not be exposed to golf because of their family's financial situation.
Incline Village's junior program offers scholarships and financial assistance to young players who want to learn the game at its award-winning practice facility during the summer. The number of juniors participating in the program has doubled in the last three years as has the number of girls participating on the local high school golf team, which is considered a direct result of the Incline Village program.
In addition to its junior activities, the Golf Courses at Incline Village host a number of player development programs for busy professionals, senior women and couples looking to find a hobby to enjoy together. One of its more creative programs is Nine and Wine, which combines nine holes of golf with a wine tasting and networking reception for busy professionals. Nine and Wine is credited with adding more than 1,400 rounds in the last three seasons.
There are also programs aimed at women who want to become more active in the game, as well as working men and couples. For families that want to play golf together, Incline Villagehas added new sets of forward tees that shorten the holes for beginners and youngsters.
Johnson admits that not all player development programs have succeeded. "Sometimes we revamp programs and try them again, and sometimes we file them away to try again in a few years," she says. "The key is to make sure people are having fun."