Not long ago the golf industry was collectively trying to figure out a way to reconnnect the game to a younger generation that seemed to be all but ignoring it. Efforts like the PGA of America’s Golf 2.0 initiative — unveiled in 2011 — were launched at golf facilities worldwide aimed at making the game more user-friendly.
Years later, that effort continues. But progress is being made. In 2017, golf welcomed a record number of first-time players by introducing 2.6 million beginners to the game, according to the National Golf Foundation’s Golf Industry Report. It was the fourth year in a row that the number of first-time players has grown.
This is great news and a trend that we have seen for ourselves at Black Butte Ranch.
In the spirit of such initiatives, we wanted to make it easier for golf to become a way to forge bonds between generations — father and son, mother and daughter, and grandparent and grandchild.
“One of my favorite memo
ries of being a kid was when my brother and me would get a chance to go out and play with our dad on a given Saturday,” says Jeff Fought, Bl
ack Butte Ranch’s director of golf. “We wanted to help foster that feeling that golf is a special game.”
One way Black Butte Ranch has done this is to simply make it easier for junior golfers to come out and play Big Meadow or Glaze Meadow. Golfers 17 and under can play for $37 — essentially half off our peak rakes — before 1:30 p.m. on any day, including weekends, as long as they are accompanied by a parent. After 1:30 p.m. junior golfers no longer need to be accompanied by a parent, and the rate drops to just $27. After 4 p.m., it’s just $17.
We also offer a special family rate. After 4 p.m. at Big Meadow, two junior golfers age 17 and younger can play together with two adults for just $68 … total.
And of course, we have opened up Glaze Meadow to junior golfers every Thursday during the summer with the Junior Putting Challenge at 3:30 p.m. (Cost is just $5, and includes ice cream.) Immediately following at 4:30 p.m., Black Butte Ranch hosts SNAG Golf (Starting New At Golf) at the Glaze Meadow driving range. Those FREE lessons introduce kids age 7 and older to golf by using fun, oversized equipment.
In addition, we have made both courses more accessible to nine-hole rounds with our PLAY 9 initiative. Advance nine-hole tee times are available noon or after all season long. And morning play can be reserved on the day of play, if available.
Even GolfBoards were adopted by Black Butte Ranch as a way to make golf a bit more fun for the times.
Through such efforts, Black Butte Ranch has seen similar trends to what the golf industry continues to experience with more new players and more young players. More importantly, we get to see this recommitment to the game’s roots play out everyday at Black Butte Ranch.
“I’ve seen more kids starting to play on Saturdays this year than I can remember,” Fought says. “It has been awesome to see.”
Black Butte Ranch believes golf has always been great. But with these kinds of simple efforts, Black Butte Ranch hopes it is doing its part to expose new players to a game of lifetime.
Don’t quite call it a comeback for golf. Golf never went anywhere. Rather, we continue to see steps in a wonderful direction.
Come see for yourself. Special daily rates can be found by booking a tee time online. Our primetime rates are $79 per golfer. Before 7:30 a.m. or from noon to 3 p.m., golfers are invited to play either Big Meadow or Glaze Meadow for just $64. The price drops to $49 after 3 p.m.
To play, book a tee time online, call 855-210-5305, or the Golf Shop at 541-595-1545.