NGF TOP 100 BUSINESSES IN GOLF
U.S. Kids Golf
Dan Van Horn, President and Founder
U.S. Kids Golf is the leading junior golf company in the world, designing and manufacturing three lines of Golf Equipment for kids, hosting more than 1,600 tournaments each year through its Tournaments division, and serving as home to a Coaches Institute with 1,650 active certified coaches in 39 countries.
The company was founded in 1996 by Dan Van Horn, an entrepreneurial engineer who wanted to spend more time with his kids on the golf course. Realizing that cutoff adult clubs and the junior equipment of the time were all too heavy, he saw that the poorly fit equipment was hurting swing development, and, more importantly, enjoyment of the game.
In response, U.S. Kids Golf was started with the express mission “To help kids have fun learning the lifelong game of golf and to encourage family interaction that builds lasting memories.”
U.S. Kids Golf fulfills that mission by creating products that are built specifically for kids and their unique needs. The award-winning line includes a Yard Club (for beginners), Ultralight (clubs for beginning to intermediate players), and Tour Series (for intermediate to advanced). The clubs are scaled for players in 3″ height increments, with a Yard Club offered for players as small as 36″ inches tall (up to 63″) and Tour Series for players as tall as 66″ (starting at 51″). The Ultralight line offers nine sizes (39″- 63″).
All three lines have recently been awarded by numerous media publications, including Golf Digest and Golf Magazine, as the top line of youth clubs for the various skill levels.
Additionally, U.S. Kids Golf operates a Foundation that is home to their Tournaments and Coaches divisions.
U.S. Kids Golf Tournaments are designed to host top-quality events that provide aspirational goals for players while also creating a family-friendly atmosphere to enhance the parent-child dynamic.
There are 200 Local Tours conducted annually, as well as many state, regional, and international championships. The U.S. Kids Golf Teen World Championship (for ages 13 -18) and World Championship (ages 5 -12) are conducted over a two week span each year at historic Pinehurst, North Carolina. These Championships attract more than 2000 players representing over 50 countries. The World Championship was the subject of a popular Netflix documentary, “The Short Game,” and has hosted numerous PGA and LPGA stars as they developed.
The Coaches Institute is a resource that provides training and education for junior golf coaches around the world through one and four-day seminars that relay best practices in all areas of teaching young players. Coaches can become Level 1 and Level 2 Certified, with Level 2 training held exclusively at the U.S. Kids Golf Academy headquarters in Southern Pines, NC. Level 1 training seminars (one-day training) are conducted globally, with 25-30 seminars conducted each year. The Coaches Institute also recognizes top coaches annually with their Top 50 Kids Coaches and Top Master Kids Coaches awards. The Institute is also home to the U.S. Kids Golf Academies, a series of academies nationwide operated by select coaches who have completed Level 2 training.
In 2015, U.S. Kids Golf purchased Longleaf Golf & Family Club in Southern Pines, NC, with intention to make it a “Living Lab” of golf, family, and player development. Among the many innovations thus far is the development of a data-driven method of implementing eight tee boxes for all levels of player (the Longleaf Tee System), an idea that has been adopted as an official initiative of the American Society of Golf Course Architects.
The idea behind U.S. Kids Golf equipment is that better swings will create more fun, proper development, and ideally, a lifelong enjoyment of the game.
The three unique lines of clubs mean there is a club for every young player regardless of skill level, while the multiple size options ensure a perfect fit. In conjunction with their Coaches Institute and Tournaments division, U.S. Kids Golf’s belief that great equipment, coaching, and competition all work together to create lifelong golfers has been a formula that’s helped them impact over a million families worldwide in just over two decades.