Mark Naylor knows an opportunity when he sees it—and believe it or not, the pandemic was an opportunity.
“When COVID shut everything down, golf was the only sport available. No other team sports,” he said. “So right out of COVID, when everything was opening up again, we saw the opportunity for families to play golf together. It was the right time for us to get everybody out on the course with PGA Family Cup.”
Naylor, an Assistant Professional at Round Hill Country Club in Alamo, California, officially launched his facility’s PGA Family Cup program in 2021, after participating in a pilot program in 2020. With about 31 family teams participating, Round Hill’s PGA Family Cup program ranked as the largest in the country last year.
But according to Naylor, the benefit of PGA Family Cup isn’t just about increased numbers. It’s about getting more people on the course and watching them fall in love with golf.
“Everybody has a great time with PGA Family Cup,” Naylor said. “This is a way to get the parents, the families, to play. The program really caters to players of all abilities, and everyone has the same opportunity to play, succeed and do well.”
PGA Family Cup seemed like a natural fit for Round Hill, Naylor noted. He and his team have participated in PGA Jr. League for years, often allowing parents to ride along and cheer on their kids. When PGA Family Cup came along, the program seemed like the perfect opportunity to get parents out of the cart and onto the course.
“We already had a big backing with parents who were watching their PGA Jr. League players,” Naylor said. “Everyone was excited to participate in PGA Family Cup, and parents thought, ‘Great! We don’t have to just watch anymore; we can play!’ It was a seamless transition. We didn’t have to drum up business or beat the bushes on it. The interest and buzz were already there.”
Round Hill runs their PGA Jr. League, an in-house league, from late March to late June. After a few months off, Naylor and his team start their PGA Family Cup program in September. Making the most of the flexibility of the program, Naylor and his team run their PGA Family Cup program as a series, offering five events across several weeks.
“I keep a point total across those five events, and I take their three best scores from those events, and that’s their team score for the PGA Family Cup season,” Naylor said. “That allows us to have the flexibility for folks who can’t make every weekend. If you can play five weeks, perfect. If you can play three out of the five, perfect. We’ll take you there, too.”
Naylor also loves how customizable PGA Family Cup is, making it possible for him to shape the program to fit the needs and desires of his players. Rather than a team scramble, Round Hill’s PGA Family Cup events use an alternate shot format.
“All of our juniors tee off,” Naylor explained. “When you do a scramble, sometimes the parents can dominate the play. This ensures that all kids are playing, and their shot can be used.”
For Naylor, PGA Family Cup offers a fun, family-focused event that allows parents, kids, grandparents, aunts and uncles and more to enjoy the course together. But he’s also seen engagement grow at his facility thanks to PGA Family Cup.
“We’ve had an increase in more moms taking lessons, in more siblings taking lessons,” Naylor said. “There are more families out on the driving range or signing up for lessons. We’re pulling in more students because everyone wants to participate in PGA Family Cup.”
Naylor is already hard at work planning Round Hill’s fall PGA Family Cup season, set to kick off again in September.
“Parents are already asking about it,” Naylor said. “PGA Family Cup is really good for retention, and it keeps everyone engaged. We always have a goal: to beat last week’s score.”