June 10, 2018

Royal Golf Club Summer Programs: Getting Junior Golfers Outside

With the days getting longer and the school year coming to a close, every parent is searching for ways to get the kids outside and entertained.

Shawn Weisen, Royal Golf Club PGA golf professional and captain of the Junior Golf program, encourages any young adult under the age of 18 to give golf a try through one of the Royal Golf Club’s junior programs.

“Kids are the future of our game, and unfortunately, many clubs do not allow junior golfers to access their facilities,” Shawn says. “The Royal Golf Club is taking the opposite approach. We want kids on the course, learning how to play the sport we all love, and sharing it with their friends.”

“I also believe that golfing can be life changing,” Shawn adds, “like it was for me.”

When Shawn was ten years old, his mother signed him up for his first summer golf lesson. He needed a way to pass the time and his friends were all playing golf, so taking a few lessons seemed like a fun alternative to staying inside all day.

“I had so much fun at the course that summer,” Shawn recalls. “I remember hitting balls and thinking, ‘This is what I want to do for the rest of my life.’”

Ten years later, while studying at Augsburg University, Shawn decided to pursue his passion and become a golf professional. Since then, over the past 21 years, he has competed against other golf pros, while continuing his passion for teaching the game of golf to people of all ages.

“I’ve loved every moment,” Shawn says. “I don’t regret a thing. I have especially enjoyed the time I’ve made in introducing young people to the game, and serving as a coach.”

“Too many people nowadays feel that everything has to be a competition, but golf is a game and games are meant to be fun,” Shawn says. “When it comes to this course, start by taking the family out on the Short Course. Don’t even keep score, just go out and play.”

Shawn also strongly recommends the Royal Golf Club’s junior programs, which offer a number of exceptional opportunities for kids to soak up some sunshine and learn to play a sport they can enjoy for a lifetime. These programs include:

  1. The Summer Jr. Golf Camp gives kids a basic overview of how golf is played, as well as instruction on techniques to improve consistency, performance, and overall health. Through this program, kids will discover the basics of golf as well as the lifelong joy of playing the game, maintaining a healthy body and mind, and making new friends in a supportive environment.
  2. The Drive, Chip & Putt Prep Class introduces junior golfers to the three essential skills of golf – driving, chipping and putting, with an emphasis on ball control, decision-making and self-management. This program also instructs students on the ins-and-outs of preparing for competitions, and making sure that they will be ready for the Drive, Chip & Putt Qualifier on June 26, hosted at the Royal Golf Club.
  3. The Youth on Course program allows kids to play at courses across the country for $5 or less, giving any young golfer the opportunity to explore the sport of a lifetime. Junior golfers are encouraged to visit the Youth on Course website to sign up.
  4. The PGA Junior League gives kids the chance to learn from the pros while discovering the fun, social, and competitive sides of golfing. The league allows junior golfers to explore the best parts of the sport among friends.
  5. The Short Course allows the whole family to play together and offers flexible scheduling without the rigid time constraints of a summer camp or a class. The course is only 6 holes, with each hole less than 100 yards, making for a perfectly timed game for players at any skill level. The Short Course is free for players under the age of 18. The Royal Golf Club provides junior golfers with a set of clubs to use if they do not have their own. The only obstacle to playing on the Short Course is getting there, but the Royal Golf Club offers every possible opportunity for kids to discover the sport they can enjoy for a lifetime.

In addition to all of these opportunities, Shawn encourages older junior golfers to explore the course on their own. Young adults, ages 17 and under, may join the club as a junior member. Junior membership gives young golfers access to the Queen and King courses and the freedom to design their own golf practices with access to the driving range and chipping/putting practice areas.

The Royal Golf Club also offers employment opportunities to older junior golfers. As staffers, junior golfers get hands-on experience as golf instructors, the opportunity to network with peers and PGA pros, and the ability to earn money without letting their golfing skills get rusty. Assistant golf professional Matt Skoglund is in charge of training new staff members, and should contact Matt for more details.

“If it’s not clear, we are 110% dedicated to exposing more youth to golfing,” Shawn adds. “It’s what both Arnold Palmer and Annika Sörenstam intended in designing our course.”

Learn more about the Royal Golf Club’s junior programs here.