I was born and raised in Newport, RI, where my parents still reside. My journey as an assistant pro included stops in Naples — where my son was born. I’ve also had stops in Vail, CO, Palm Springs, CA — where my daughter was born, Nantucket and Cape Cod. My pursuits and accomplishments include my existing position at Cranberry Valley, the Cape Cod Chapter of the PGA Junior and serving as Golf Chairman since 2012; and golf coach for Saint John Paul High School. In my career I’ve been honored with the CCPGA Junior Golf Leader Award in 2013 & 2016 as well as the New England PGA Youth Player Development Award and US Kids Top 50 Teacher both in 2016.
The Greer Story —
My parents and I learned how to play golf together when I was a kid, taking our lead from my Grandfather. When my kids where born I couldn’t wait to share the game with them. As they hit golfing age I was ultra-motivated to make every clinic and program that I was running for kids as fun as possible. 10 years later our junior golf journey continues and it has been one of the thrills of my life that we have shared this fun journey together.
* * *
MATT WARD: Is enough being done by major national golf organizations — including equipment companies, in regards to exposing more young people to golf?
ROMAN GREER: I think that there is a major effort in place from the national golf organizations to catch up with the need to generate more interest in junior golf. There are so many great PGA professionals on the ground level connecting with and inspiring junior golfers but more are needed.
MW: More importantly, is there a focus on exposing golf to young people who are minorities and females and not just those coming from affluent families and those geared towards strictly a competitive dimension?
RG: There are many great efforts to focus on minority groups and segments that are less represented such as females. It is much more difficult to reach first generation golfers who have had no exposure to the game. Efforts to embrace these groups will take more time and creativity. As for junior girls, the LPGA/USGA Girls Golf program has made great strides and has a formula that really works. More chapters are needed to reach all of the girls with interest in golf.
MW: From your perspective — are various golf facilities — both private and public — actively involved in junior golf promotion or is there still dragging of the feet to get involved?
RG: In the New England area there is a true commitment to junior golf at both private and public facilities. The unifying program, and the best junior program that I have ever been involved in, is PGA Junior League. PGAJLG brings together all junior and pros with central resources, advertising and a very strong organizational model for junior golf. Where PGAJLG really succeeds the program is truly fun — encourages teamwork and interaction among participants and keeps the parents on the sidelines while the kids learn and grow.
MW: If you had to provide a roadmap for professionals and facilities to get started in junior golf — what are the three key steps they should do to get the ball rolling?
RG: First I would reach out to your regional PGA Player Development Specialist. They have resources to help and get your program integrated with local, regional and national programs. Second, I would design a road map for parents to understand which program is right for their kids. Parents, especially non golfing parents, need our help to decide where/how to start their kids in golf and where to go next. Third, make sure fun is the most important goal of your program. Once they are hooked with the fun then you can work on their grip.
MW: Curious to know — what personally got you focused on junior golf teaching?
RG: Easy answer — my kids! I wanted to show them how much fun golf can be and all of the good the game can bring you.
MW: How much emphasis among all their respective duties should golf professionals give to teaching young people?
RG: Depending on their role at their facility, all golf operations need a policy maker to fight for kids rights and affordable access to the golf course. They also need a professional on the ground to champion the junior programs and inspire the kids.
MW: In your experience — what role should parents play in exposing their children to the game?
RG: Parents play a critical role. First, they physically need to get the kids to the golf course by reaching out, finding the right program, getting the kids equipment and keeping them involved at the correct level. The best result is a family the ends up sharing golf together.
MW: Millennials often times view golf as being the recreational choice of Dad and Grandad. How do you counter that perception when reaching out to younger people?
RG: Exposing kids to golf and how much fun it can be is the best way to counter perceptions. I always encourage kids involved in junior golf to tune in and watch the pros. The new generation of tour pros are real athletes that exude cool. It’s great for kids to see what cool golfers look like. Dustin Johnson doesn’t look like Grandpa!
MW: If you could change thing in golf unilaterally — what would it be and why?
RG: Tough question because I love the game and the traditions of the game. I do wish some of the older perceptions of golf would go away such as: the need to be quiet and still. Let’s make some noise! The need for the world to come to a standstill for someone to complete their pre-shot and shot routine: just step up and hit it! The entitlement of a perfect lie: accept where it is and hit it!
MW: Best advice you ever received — what was it and who from?
RG: “Do what you love,” from my beautiful and always supportive wife, Nicole.WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?