The game of golf will not grow significantly if we don’t get young people into the game. The Lowcountry has two great programs that introduce this lifetime sport to the youth. It is important to introduce golf at a young age while children are trying other sports.

LPGA/USGA Girls Golf is the only national program, over 300 chapters, of its kind aimed at creating lifelong golfers by offering a fun and girl-friendly environment for learning and enjoying the game of golf. We are fortunate to have a local chapter in its eighth year in Bluffton.

Girls Golf prepares girls ages 6-17 for a lifetime of enjoyment of the game while also inspiring them to feel confident and build positive self-esteem. This girl-friendly program includes social and non-golf opportunities to create lasting friendships. The program also allows the older girls opportunities to lead and give back by volunteering as mentors.

Girl’s Golf’s philosophy is that everyone should learn the FUNdamentals of the game while engaging in activities that foster positive self- esteem. This is done through the 5 E’s of Girls Golf: Empower, Enrich, Engage, Exercise and Energize.

If you have a girl interested in this program, email The 2017 program starts Jan. 27 and space is limited.

Another program for juniors, both girls and boys, is the First Tee program. It is a youth development organization introducing the game of golf and its inherent values to young people.

Since its inception in 1997, more than 12 million young people have participated in First Tee programs.

Our local First Tee program is beginning its third year. They have nine core values that are taught while teaching the game of golf: honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment.

There are ongoing programs throughout the year. Contact them at

Both programs utilize modified equipment that is safe for indoor and outdoor use and consists of oversized clubs, tennis-style balls and a variety of targets.

Children do not have to own their own clubs to participate. As children advance through the programs they will use junior clubs fitted to their height.

If you are interested in growing the game, you can volunteer to help in these programs by contacting me at and Nick Dunham at The First Tee for volunteer opportunities.

Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at Brown Golf Management courses. jean.golfdoctor.harris; www.golfdoctorjean