When I was first starting to play golf, I benefited tremendously from a chapter of the Optimists that offered a junior golf program featuring all-you-can-hit nights at a driving range with tips from a PGA of America pros, as well discounted rates to play a 12-hole beginner-friendly golf course. Without that kind of support, I'm not sure I would've been able to stick with the game and get to this point.
That's why I support organizations which try to make golf more accessible and more affordable for children and their families. One of those organizations is Youth on Course, which fundamentally subsidizes the cost of green fees for kids.
At more than 900 participating facilities in the U.S., kids aged 6-18 who are members (the annual fee is anywhere from $5-$30) can play golf for $5 or less. After taking some basic online training for rules and etiquette, a junior golfer becomes a member of the local participating golf association and can establish a free USGA handicap index. Kids can be Youth on Course members and participate in The First Tee, too.
These rounds are affordable thanks to donations which help make up the gap from the rates participating facilities would charge adults to play so that owners and operators aren't totally eating potential revenue to make room for kids. One of the ways Youth on Course raises money is through an online auction they conduct each year with some incredible items on the block.
Of course, there are plenty of golf experiences, including playing places like Crystal Downs, Oakland Hills, Maidstone and Baltusrol, as well travel packages in Ireland, Arizona, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. There are other packages and opportunities up for auction, too. It all goes to this great cause.
The auction runs from Nov. 11 through Nov. 15.