I conducted an interview with a friend of mine named Heidi Richardson. Heidi has some insight into the financial issue of youth sports. Heidi is a PGA Class A golf teaching professional who focuses on junior golfers at Encinitas Ranch golf course in Encinitas, CA.
Finding an activity for kids to do that they enjoy and which is beneficial for their social, mental and physical development is high on every parent’s list. The cost of youth sports, including junior golf, is a financial issue most families have to deal with.
Often club sports teams have coaches whose sole income comes from coaching. The fees collected by the team have to pay for coach’s salaries and benefits, facilities, equipment, insurance, travel and other expenses. All these expenses have to be paid for via the club dues. That translates into very high costs for parents.
Here in Southern California, it is often the case that if a child isn’t at a fairly high level in their sport by the eighth grade, there is no chance they will make their high school team. This means parents have to start their children in youth club sports at an early age, so the children have an opportunity to play in high school and eventually college.
Hi Heidi. How much of your business is junior golfers? In the last two years it has developed more and more. Probably 70% of my business is junior programs and the other 30% is adults, especially women.
I think of the country club lifestyle when I think of golf. Is golf an expensive sport to get your kids started in? I look at the other sports and all the other junior programs around Southern California and try to keep my prices competitive with them. It is expensive, but parents will pay because golf is a great investment in their kid’s future. They could earn a college scholarship, and golf will help them later in their business life.
Heidi’s Junior Lesson Rates:
Adult Lesson Rates:
Green fees for Juniors at Encinitas Ranch are $15 weekdays and $20 weekends (cart not included).
The rates at The Crossings at Carlsbad are $30 with a paid adult (cart not included).
Golf is a sport that requires lessons, practice and time on the course. What does one of your junior packages include? The options include private or semi-private lessons, junior clinics and camps, and my junior prep school. Juniors often make their own groups with their friends for semi private lessons. Range balls are included during the lessons, and on course instruction is available.
How expensive are tournaments? Here in San Diego the options for competitive junior golf include the North County Junior Golf Association ($65 membership), the San Diego Junior Golf Association ($80 membership) and Future Champions Golf ($69 Starter Membership).
Are there discounts for juniors offered by the golf courses? Almost every course offers a discounted junior fee. You can buy a Southern California Golf Association (SCGA) Junior membership and that includes discounted green fees. Everyone supports junior golf.
What suggestions do you have for parents to help them choose the right equipment for their budget? I complete a thorough and professional evaluation of each junior’s age, size, strength and skill level and give my suggestions and guidelines for the right choices about making the best investment in equipment. Because juniors are growing so fast, they move through their equipment quickly and it is important to closely monitor and manage the situation, so the parents are able to maximize their budget and make the best decisions. I work closely with each junior and their parents to advise them through this process and to make sure both goals are achieved: managing finances and at the same time keeping the kids working with the best equipment, allowing for a successful junior career.
For families with two working parents, it is difficult to take care of the kids during school holidays. When are your golf camps? Summer day camps and year round holiday camps. Anywhere from a private lesson to a summer camp with thirty kids. I have weekly and monthly junior clinics as well.
I have kids that started with me when they were this big [shows about three feet tall] and now they’re making videos to be recruited by colleges.
Are there certain kids that take to golf more than others? I always say just get your kid up here and I’ll make them have fun. 99% of kids that I have ever taught have enjoyed their time. The parents are stoked that I made their kids love golf.
Parents often entertain the idea that their kid may get a college scholarship. What do you think are the odds of that happening? Although much of my program focuses on the more recreational division, I do have a competitive college prep level for those juniors that make that commitment to more serious goals and a bigger potential career. It is my passion to teach, encourage and empower girls and I network with some Southern California college coaches to identify what they are looking for and try to be a good referral source for parents.
So, is junior golf a good thing to spend your money on? Parents pay for junior golf because they know it’s a great place for their kids to spend their time and it’s a great investment in their future for college and beyond.
If you are interested in checking out junior golf for your kids, check out www.heidirichardsongolf.com.
From a financial planning standpoint, the biggest mistake you can make involving junior or youth sports is to pay thousands of dollars a year for them and not put any money into a college fund for your child. Based on your income and budget, the costs of organized sports and competitions must be balanced with contributions to a 529 plan or other college savings.
To create a plan for your family’s future call (760) 651-6315.