The Operation 36 co-founders Ryan Dailey and Matt Reagan recently published a book “How to Create a Junior Golfer” based on their experience with creating the Operation 36 Golf Program, which is now used around the world by over 100,000 golfers. This book is available on Amazon to purchase for you or as a gift for someone you know that will be guiding someone into the sport of golf.
1 - Why did you write the book now?
We wrote the book to help parents and anyone guiding a Junior into golf. We wanted to create a resource that someone could do a little bit of research on the front end of the journey to know what to look for and also what to avoid when finding a golf program or coach for their junior golfer.
As parents, we constantly wonder if our kids are in the right school, church, music program, baseball, football or gymnastics program. We try to find information online and then even after we enroll them, we wonder if we should make a change. Our minds never stop…
We don’t want to make the mistake of having them in the wrong program or with the wrong coach. Yes, we don’t want to waste our money, but more importantly we don’t want to waste time or have an experience that negatively impacts our child’s confidence. As parents, we want to provide the best possible environment we can to give our children the best opportunities to develop their passions.
As golf professionals with over 35 years of combined coaching experience, and having the support of over 1400 golf professionals who are currently running Operation 36 programs around the world, Matt and I felt the time was right for us to share what we’ve learned in How to Create a Junior Golfer.
This is a short form book, 125 pages that you can read in a few hours and is our way of arming you with the knowledge and understanding of what to look for in selecting the best beginner golf program and environment for your child to develop a lifelong love for playing the game of golf.
2-What does the book cover?
The book is divided into three sections.
The first section covers Why learning how to play golf backwards is the most effective way to create a golfer. We will share the lessons we learned over the years to come to this realization. After reading this section you can confidently know you are putting your child in the most effective learning environment possible. You will have no regrets later on that you should have done it any other way.
The second section introduces The power of goal setting and how to reach a goal through small, repeated activities. Many times, the children in our programs have never learned how to set a goal or had a standard to reach for. From day 1, they are put in an environment where everyone is working together for the same goal, to shoot 36 or better. They will be training with others, have the support of a professional coach and the technology to track their progress towards the goal of shooting 36 or better. All the while they will be meeting new friends, being outdoors and learning a sport they can play for the rest of their lives.
The third section is to Support you as a parent. We will share how we can use the research from Operation 36 over the years to help us as parents be the supportive rock that our kids need when the journey gets challenging. We’ve spent years charting out what the journey in golf looks like so you’ll know what is about to happen before it happens to be best equipped to help. We want you to be one of the reasons they stay in the sport versus the ever increasing situation where we as parents are the reason they end up quitting a sport.
3-What is your favorite part of the book?
The stories at the end of each chapter are my favorite parts of the book. These real-life stories were submitted by Operation 36 coaches around the world and do a wonderful job of supporting each chapter’s theme. As a coach, parent and player, reading these stories are motivating and inspiring.
We invite you to sit down with your child and read these stories together. It’s a great way for your child to learn that others have faced the same challenges that they are facing and they overcame them through perseverance and hard work. A best practice we have found is to finish a story and ask your child some thought provoking questions:
You’ll learn about kids of all ages and the story of how they each overcame the challenge of a certain challenge in Operation 36. Some met a difficult challenge at Level 1 and Level 2, while others got to Level 4 or 5 and needed to put in years of hard work with their coach to build the skills to beat 36. These stories are told through the eyes of each player's coach.
4-What do you hope this book does for the golf industry?
When we started this journey back in 2010, we called around to our local golf courses and asked what programs they had for Junior golfers. The only options available were a summer camp offered once a year or private lessons. Because of this, very few kids were at the course, only the accomplished junior players, and that number was quite small.
A Mom or Dad that wanted to get their child into golf at the time had to do most of the heavy lifting on their own. And from what we saw, very few parents could dedicate the necessary time and energy to do this. They ended up moving on to another sport or activity that was easier for them to join. The golf course and golf professional needed to do more to help.
But the local karate programs and gymnastics programs were crowded with kids in our area. What was going on here? What we came to find out was that the karate and gymnastics programs had a plan to welcome someone to the sport and offered programs year-round. It was that simple, they had a plan and a program.
Our hope with this book is that it challenges the golf industry to provide a better plan and program for the next generation of golfers:
The Operation 36 program isn’t the only way, we know this. It’s just a way. It’s a way that we’ve found to be very successful in providing a motivating plan for parents and children to get behind and enjoy the journey in golf. We hope this book gets in the hands of folks that can help push a change for the better in our industry long-term.
5-What is the Junior Golf Development Model?
In our view, too many golf programs and sports programs in general, never take the time needed at certain moments of a player's development to evaluate, see what is working, and make adjustments. They just keep plugging along, year after year, and sometimes miss these crucial opportunities to make adjustments that will have negative and sometimes permanent effects.
As we are learning, this is due to no one having an idea of what is the typical progression of a player. Why? No one has measured this using a standardized on-course development model over time. As you will learn in Chapter 8, we’ve combed through thousands and thousands of rounds played around the world in Operation 36 over the years. We’ve used this data to help create the Junior Golf Development Model.
It is a great guide that parents, coaches and players can use that has helped to answer some of the below questions. It has helped set them at ease if what they are doing is working and also helped them to take a ‘time out’ and make some adjustments if it isn’t working based on a player's goals.
We invite you to get a copy of our book, “How to Create a Junior Golfer” here on Amazon.