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Junior Golf Development Model

Your junior's golf development is no longer a mystery.  A clear model, and guidelines to ensure your golfer has the best environment possible.




The Purpose

Parents and coaches should have a clear golf development model to know exactly where the junior is in their golf skill development and how to play a positive role every step of the way.

The challenge is, Junior golf development has always been a bit of a mystery. There are two goals of the Operation 36 Junior Golf Development Model:

First, we want juniors to play golf and sports for life which is why we support the Long-Term Athlete Development Guidelines. (See below)

Second, we want juniors to be in positive golf environments that can give them the programming necessary to help them achieve their golfing goals. 

It is important that we do the RIGHT THINGS at the RIGHT TIME for juniors at every phase of their development.

How it Works

Golf Professionals are equipped with the Junior Golf Development Reporting features in their Op 36 Web Platform.  They have the tools to guide your junior.

1. When juniors are ready, they can select a Track Goal.

Every new golfer starts in the Golf Exploratory Track. After some time in the sport, and only if they wish to, they can choose the track that they want to be on based on interest level.

2. Based on their skill and age, coaches can see actual Track.

First, by understanding the player's age, we can recommend Athlete Development training guidelines. Second, the Skill Level of the player at their age will determine the actual golf development track they are on.

3. Coaches can recommend specific programs and training plans

Based on your juniors' goals, your coach can see if they are on track. If a player is ahead of pace or on pace it will motivate the juniors to continue to do what they are doing, it is working. If they are behind pace, coaches can help guide programming plans to help.

Operation 36 Junior Golf Development Tracks™

The Operation 36 JGDM categorizes juniors into different tracks based on their age, golf skill development, and engagement levels overtime. 

Exploratory Track
Projected 30 + Handicap at Age 19
This track is designed to introduce the golfer and:
- Allow them to explore their interest in golf
- Develop a passion of participating with peers at the golf course
- Play their first 9 holes using Operation 36 Format (we recommend to begin keeping individual score starting at the age of 7)
Social Track
Projected 20-29 Handicap at Age 19
This track identifies golfers who are on pace or prepared to:
- Play in Scramble Team Events and meet new friends in the game
- Continue to play in Operation 36 Events
Recreational Track
Projected 10-20 Handicap at Age 19
This track identifies golfers who are on pace or prepared to:
- Play 9 holes individually in Op 36 & normal formats 
- Play in Scramble Team Events 
- Participate in friendly events like Drive, Chip and Putt Events 
Competitor Track
Projected 1-10 Handicap at Age 19
This track identifies golfers who are on pace or prepared to:
- Play for middle school and High School Teams 
- Play in Local Junior Golf Tournaments 
- Continue in Op 36 Events & PGA Junior League Teams 
Collegiate Track
Projected 0 Handicap or better at Age 19
This track identifies golfers who are on pace or prepared to:
- Be recruited to play at a D1- D3 College Golf Programs 
- Play in Regional and National Junior Golf Tournaments

Wouldn't it be nice to have an idea of where your junior golfer's skill level will be by the time they graduate high-school?

Principles of the Junior Golf Development Model

Player First Model

We put the athlete first. Our role as coaches and parents is to paint a vision of where golfers can go with the sport, but it is up to the junior to choose the track they want to take.

On-Course Golf Skill Benchmarking

The core of the model is calculated based on scores that are shot in formal 9 hole rounds using the Operation 36 Model.  This standard allows us to accurately track skill development from day 1 of their journey! 

Built on a LTAD Foundation

Our goal is that the juniors play sports for life. We support the Long-Term Athlete Development Guidelines and organizations that are advancing these efforts. This allows parents and coaches to be educated on doing the right thing at the right time for their junior golfer based on their age. 

Data Driven Model

The benchmarks and golf model are not subjective. They are driven from data collected in a controlled environment to govern our model and algorithms. The data is fluid and adjusted based upon additional data received from players so that the model is as accurate as possible.

Certification Agenda

8:00 AM - Welcome & Intros
8:30 AM - Business of Group Coaching
9:15 AM - Science of Group Coaching
10:00 AM - Building Programming
11:00 AM - Golfer Progress Tracking
12:00 PM - Lunch
1:00 PM - Gamify Your Environment
2:30 PM - Live Group Training
4:30 PM - Wrap up & Review
This agenda may be subject to change, based on latest research we are learning, as well as the location constraints.

The Operation 36 Software Platform

The Operation 36 Software Platform is the engine that tracks, organizes, and provides coaches with the tools necessary to guide juniors in their development.

Long-Term Athlete Development Guidelines*

Operation 36 was founded on the principles of Long-Term Athlete Development when they started in 2010.

Juniors are more complex than adults. They are developing socially, physically, and emotionally in their journey to maturity. Depending on where they are in their development there are research-based guidelines we can follow as coaches and parents to positively support them as athletes every step of the way.

If the guidelines are followed, it gives the junior the best possible chance of accomplishing their goals and becoming a golfer and athlete for life.  Coming Soon, the Operation 36 Reporting will outline these guidelines and education for parents and coaches for each player.



Active Start - Girls and Boys 0-6

Gets kids moving and eventually linking those smaller movements together in play.



Fundamentals - Girls 6-8 | Boys 6-9

Develops movement skills for play focused on fun, inclusive, multisport, and developmentally appropriate activities.



Learn to Play - Girls 8-11 | Boys 9-12

Further develops all fundamental movement skills and teaching of general golf skills.



Play to Improve - Girls 11-15 | Boys 12-16

Introduces training to further develop golf specific skills based around puberty and growth spurts.



Play to Compete - Girls 15-21 | Boys 16-23

Teaches golfers to perform under a variety of conditions during training encouraging the athlete’s competitive spirit.



Play to Win - Girls 18+ | Boys 19+

Reinforces, refines and optimizes technical, tactical and ancillary skills with an end goal of winning.



Golf for Life - All Ages

Encourages fun and inclusive programing for golfers of all ages and ability levels.

*Reference: Golf's American Development Model

Who is the Junior Golf Development Model For?

1. Juniors (Ages 7+)

The Junior Golf Development Model provides Juniors with the following:
1. Long-Term Vision - The model allows juniors to see potential tracks they can pursue in the game of golf. 
2. Goal Setting - The model allows juniors to set their own goals and see a realistic plan to get them there.
3. Clear Planning - The coach can use the technology to set goals, issue training plans, and give program recommendations based on golfers goals.
4. Commitment - The model gives juniors a way to measure their own progress which will motivate them to continue working towards their goal with Operation 36.

2. Parents

The Junior Golf Development Model provides Parents with the following:
1. Clarity - Parents will understand exactly where their junior golfer is in their development.
2. Support & Education - Parents will have resources to learn how to positively support their junior in their development.
3. Clear Expectations - The model helps parents set and have realistic expectations and understand the do’s and don’ts along their golfers journey.

3. Coaches

The Junior Golf Development Model provides Coaches  with the following:
1. Clarity - Coaches will understand clearly where every golfer is in their development and store their goals.
2. Program Building - Based on a Students Goals coaches can better recommend programming and plans.
3. Retention - By showing juniors and parents the golfers progression and plan to get them to their goals, it will increase retention.  You cannot accomplish this with traditional camps and clinics, and no underlying development model.  Just integrate the Operation 36 Playing Component and Technology to begin now!

Give your Junior a Program delivered by Pros who think long-term and have the best model to guide their development.

Learn more about Junior ProgrammingFind a Program


Columbine Valley, CO


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Richmond, VA


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Operation 36 proudly supports the organizations working to advance Long-Term Athlete Development Guidelines & Education.

Also known as Op 36, we are a team of golf professionals and golf enthusiasts that are aiming to change the way the golf industry introduces and progresses beginners in playing the game of golf.
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