Portland’s Growing Young Adult Golf Community: YA! Golf PDX
June marks Player Development Month at more than 100 KemperSports-managed golf courses nationwide. Throughout the month, we’re proud to showcase how our teams from coast to coast are creatively introducing new audiences to the game, engaging avid players and simply bringing the joy of golf to as many people as possible no matter who they are, where they live or what course they play on.
For young adults living in Portland, Ore. who play golf or are interested in taking up the game, life is good. In 2021, the city created YA! Golf PDX, a free-to-join program that invites people between the ages of 19 and 29 to play Portland Parks’ six golf courses at discounted rates.
With many in this age group either in college or just beginning their professional careers, the city designed YA! Golf PDX to help increase access to the game by removing financial barriers that can sometimes hinder play among younger adults.
“Portland Parks and Rec saw a need for affordable golf to help sustain the future of the game here in the city, and with many young people not quite financially secure yet, a program like this is what will keep a lot of young players in the sport,” said Heron Lakes Golf Club and Colwood Golf Center Marketing Manager Jarred Gomez, who also helps lead YA! Golf for the city. “As a 27-year-old myself, I see the direct impact in my own friend circles. It’s easy for me to text a group of friends and play a few afternoon rounds a month after work when the cost is justifiable. The courses deserve a lot of credit as well. Their staff have been great partners in assisting us get the program to where it is in just a year and a half.”
During the peak season that runs from March 16 through October 31, participants can play any of Portland Parks’ six public golf courses, including KemperSports-managed Heron Lakes Golf Club (Great Blue and Greenback Courses) and Colwood Golf Center, for just $25 ($15 for nine holes) at reserved times. In the offseason, 18-hole rates are reduced even further to $20 ($10 for nine).
In addition to discounted greens fees, YA! Golf members also receive access to exclusive bi-monthly group clinics. Led by PGA Teaching Professionals at Heron Lakes and Colwood on the first and third Thursday of the month from March through September, the $20 clinics bring new and experienced players together to take their skills to the next level.
But perhaps the best part of the program is how golf has helped create a growing social community for young adults living in the Portland-metro area.
“We surpassed 2,000 members in 2021, and with the addition of an app-based platform in 2022, we are quickly approaching the same number of active users,” Gomez said. “Our community is forming their own sense of belonging and inclusion at the municipal properties, not just while playing 18 holes, but in the non-traditional, non-golf hosted events, and social media interaction. It’s exciting to see members create and grow new friendships because of this program and the game of golf.”
For more information on YA! Golf PDX, visit www.yagolfpdx.com.
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