In 2015, the U.S. Kids Golf Foundation purchased a distressed property in Southern Pines, NC, with the expressed mission of creating a new type of golf facility. The aim was to combine a traditional environment, complete with a championship layout and conditions, with a more contemporary culture – one where kids and families were prioritized, where ground-breaking innovations were incubated and tested, and where coaches from around the world could come to learn, contribute, and grow professionally. Thus, our “Living Lab” was born and, in a short period, has become a beacon of ideas and hopes for the industry at large. Longleaf has become a place to teach, learn, test, and validate - a university of all things golf that has already influenced the way golf is played and taught all over the world.
Golf & Family Club
Built on property that was once a famed horse farm, the golf course at Longleaf Golf & Family Club has raced to the top of the “Must Play” lists in the Sandhills region. Our Dan Maples designed layout is a mix of risk-reward holes that have proven to be worthy of some of North Carolina’s biggest events. A 2015 renovation by Bill Bergin has led to Longleaf’s annual inclusion in many “Best Conditioned” and “Top Courses You Can Play” lists.
The U.S. Kids Golf Academy is the benchmark for junior golf development worldwide and a leader for bringing new players into the game. Utilizing a holistic approach that provides properly fit equipment for every player to use, games-based learning that emphasizes fun and friendships, and a Player Pathway development program that provides clear goals while rewarding achievement, our Academy is the epicenter of training coaches, developing young players, and creating lifelong family experiences.
As part of being a “Family Club”, Longleaf wanted to design a 6-hole short course that would be both a fun challenge for every player, but in particular, a great place for families to enjoy golf together without the time or skill requirements that conventional golf often demands. The idea resonated, and a generous donation from The Wadsworth Foundation enabled us to create this “true golf” experience that enables so many new players, young players, and families to learn, practice, and most importantly, fall in love with golf together.
Our Foundation developed an innovative, easy-to-adopt way to scale golf courses so that they were fair and playable for every level of player, consistent with the vision of the course designer and yet welcoming and score-friendly for beginners, seniors, women, kids all the way to Tour Professionals. This concept proved so effective, the American Society of Golf Course Architects soon adopted it as part of a joint initiative with the U.S. Kids Golf Foundation to grow golf at the grassroots level.
The success of the National Academy, along with the commitment of the Foundation to study, innovate, and perfect best practices that truly develop kids in golf, has made Longleaf a global destination for coaches interested in becoming better at growing junior golf programs. Even more, when its not practical for a large group of coaches to come to Longleaf, the Academy has brought the Academy experience to them. (Most recently, in Kenya [hyperlink]). Hundreds of coaches have come to Longleaf to learn, collaborate, and improve.
Parent / Child Camps
Longleaf hosts a series of Parent/Child Camps each summer, four days for parents (and even grandparents) to learn and play golf with their favorite young players. Many are absolute beginners, some are more skilled, but all are able to benefit from the bonds that grow exponentially stronger when strengthened through time together falling in love with golf.
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