Annually, KemperSports dedicates a month to its proprietary Player Development Program as a celebration of golf. The program focuses on growing the game of golf, creating a welcoming atmosphere for new entrants and showcasing golf’s contribution to the local community. To commemorate the month-long celebration, properties in the KemperSports portfolio offer free 15-minute lessons.
KemperSports’ Player Development Month is an initiative built to provide tools and best practices to a portfolio of more than 125 public, private and resort golf courses around the country. The program is geared to deliver innovative ways to reach an entire demographic of non-golfers.
The inaugural celebration, which started in 2014, saw more than 3,500 interactions with new golfers at KemperSports courses across the country. That number has grown incrementally every year by interacting with new golfers and over social media. Given the expansion of the program, KemperSports is hoping to grow that number of golfers in every community and share the passion for golf with as many as possible.
“As avid golfers ourselves, we are passionate about the game of golf,” said KemperSports president Josh Lesnik. “Player Development Month gives us the opportunity to share our love of the game and hopefully introduce the game to a generation of non-golfers in a fun way.”
A reflection of the commitment and success of the program, Cantigny Golf in Wheaton, Ill., was awarded the 2017 Player Development Award by the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA). KemperSports has managed Cantigny Golf since 2014.
Cantigny Golf is at the forefront of player development with their Youth Links (youth-only, 9-hole golf course) as well as robust programming, including youth clinics that reached more than 1,500 young golfers in 2017 and Young Executive Program that introduces golf to millennials and has accounted for more than 700 rounds since starting in 2016.
“This award is about doing what you can with what you have to grow the game,” says Jay Karen, Chief Executive Officer of NGCOA. “Cantigny Golf’s commitment to introducing golf to youth, veterans, adults and anyone under the sun who should pick up a club with their home-grown and industry-supported programs is beyond impressive. They are a model facility.”
“We are extremely proud of our team at Cantigny Golf for this tremendous honor,” says KemperSports CEO Steve Skinner. “Their commitment to the future of the game and the best interest of their community is a reminder of the outstanding benefits that the game of golf instills.”
The honor comes on the heels of two of Cantigny’s leaders being honored by the Illinois PGA for their role in delivering an innovative and expanding player development program at the club. Head Golf Professional Patrick Lynch received the Section Player Development Award and Instructor Greg Baresel received the Section Youth Player Development Award from the NGCOA. These individuals and organizations have helped preserve the tradition of the game while embracing the challenges and opportunities of the golf business.
With the belief that golf is not only our job, but our passion, KemperSports takes personal pride in its mission to help grow the game and share our love of the sport with new and former golfers. Guests at KemperSports facilities are encouraged to show their support of the Player Development Program and their love of the game of golf on social media with the hashtag #golfisgreat.