PEBBLE BEACH, California – Youth on Course, the non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring all youth have affordable access to the sport of golf, is building upon its partnership with TaylorMade Golf by expanding on its successful DRIVE Club collaboration.
The DRIVE Club, which launched last year in the San Francisco Bay Area and Chicagoland area is expanding to Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Antonio, and Phoenix in 2022, empowering local members to grow and diversify golf by guiding new golfers on the course during their first rounds.
Six YOC partner courses have been established as Community Hubs and outfitted with complimentary TaylorMade equipment to provide new golfers being introduced to the sport by DRIVE Club members.
“Golf is becoming more diverse, but we believe the sport can evolve more rapidly by empowering young people to drive that change,” says Michael Lowe, VP of Programs at Youth on Course. “Junior Golfers are the most diverse demographic within the sport so there’s no one better equipped to introduce more youth of color to golf. All they need is a safe place to play, access to equipment, caring mentors, and support along the way”.
Peer-to-peer teaching is a powerful tool, in classrooms, on the course and by volunteering as YOC Guides, DRIVE Club members will be introducing their peers to the sport by actually playing it. This approach gives new golfers the opportunity to enjoy all of the things that avid golfers love: being outdoors, socializing, developing skills, and building relationships.
“The DRIVE Club is important to TaylorMade for many reasons,” says Rick Paschal, TaylorMade’s Chief Financial Officer and a YOC board member. “We’ve been an active partner since first implementing the initiative in 2021, inviting 55 kids to join the inaugural class. That inspiring group played a collective 800 rounds in one summer and included individuals from 12 different cultures and ethnicities, embodying the spirit of diversity in the broadest sense. DRIVE Club members will also have opportunities to attend special golf clinics with local TaylorMade Crusaders and additional learning opportunities with industry leaders to promote the wide array of career opportunities in golf.
“This year’s class has expanded to 120 juniors in six different markets and we can’t wait to see how many rounds they pile up and how they embrace the Community Hub model. Intrinsically, golf brings people together and allows us to bond over a shared experience. DRIVE Club embodies those values, and we’re proud to partner with Youth on Course to bring it to life.”
DRIVE Club Members are selected as outstanding kids who participate in community service, are academically strong and are committed to making the game of golf more inclusive.
Operating across North America, Youth on Course has more than 130,000 active members. Since 2006, juniors have played more than 1.8 million subsidized rounds of golf while the organization has helped generate more than $8 million in tee-time revenue reimbursed back to individual golf courses.
In addition to subsidized rounds, Youth on Course puts their members’ lives on a different trajectory by providing off-course growth and learning experiences including paid internships, a caddie program, and nationwide scholarships, with more than 300 students awarded with college scholarships to date totaling more than $2 million awarded through the scholarship program.