Interested in starting a club golf team but not sure what to do before school starts? It can seem tough to start a team during the summer, when the large majority of students are off-campus. However there are a lot of things you can do to really get the ball rolling and ensure your club will be up and running as the new semester begins.
Here are five steps to start your journey before school starts:
1) Visualize and plan
The best first step is to think about what you’d like your team to look like. Some club golf teams in the NCCGA, like the University of Cincinnati, have 30+ members of all skill levels involved in their club. Others keep only a small roster of players, all of them competitive and ready to play in NCCGA tournaments. It’s up to you to decide how many players are on your team.
2) Local course relationship
Summer is the perfect time to build rapport with a local golf course or driving range near your campus. One of the things that sets many teams apart is a local course relationship. A golf course that lets the club play for reduced fees, in exchange for work, or even for free is a huge asset and recruiting tool. These relationships aren't simply built through a single phone call. Take the time to build a relationship with the course, sell the pro on what you're working to build on campus, and most importantly pitch how it can have a positive impact on their business. Your club golf team will bring the golf course more business, and since they are college students they have the potential of being customers at the golf course for decades to come.
3) Create a budget
Take some time to create a mock budget for your team. This will help you understand what type of expenses your team can expect, and allows you to plan how much you will have to charge your members in team dues (and/or fundraise). If you go to the club sports office at the beginning of the Fall semester with a comprehensive budget for your club, the school will be impressed with the work put into understanding what the club will be doing, and what you might need help with, and will also show a level of responsibility and organization they look to see when awarding funds.
Items you might include in your mock budget: Team dues, tournament fees, practice fees, travel costs, team gear (such as polos, hats, bags, etc.), and amount projected to fundraise. The NCCGA has created mock budgets for new teams to help you get a start (just ask!).
4) Build an online presence
I always suggest club presidents create a Gmail with the team’s name (ex. firstname.lastname@example.org). This gives the team an official email account that can be passed down from president to president. It also allows you to keep all of the important documents in one place, things like team rosters, lists of interested players, budget, constitution, etc. You can also create a team Twitter or Facebook group. Many teams have a specific team member that controls the club's social media.
Having social media is a fun way to jump into the club golf community by interacting with the NCCGA (@NCCGA), giving updates on your team’s progress and activities, recruit new members, as well as talk a little trash with the other club teams! Need some inspiration? Check out the Alabama club golf team's Twitter account here.
5) Network with other club presidents
The NCCGA is happy to support you as a future leader on campus and can be a great resource for information and advice regarding club golf. The NCCGA can also put you in touch with the club presidents of teams that are near your campus that can give you their point of view on what’s needed to set up a successful club golf program. Who knows - you may even end up scheduling a match with them for the Fall semester!
There are a ton of things that you can do in the summer to get a head start on your club golf program, but these are just a few suggestions to help get you started. Feel free to contact me (email@example.com), for more suggestions.