Kelly McCammon is a golf industry veteran has been a Class A PGA professional and trained over 500 professionals including schools, parks and recreation facilities and golf pros on how to start, teach and retain new learners to the game of golf. He has participated on panels for the National Golf Course Owners Association, LPGA, PGA sections, EWGA, International Network of Golf, Crittenden, Association of Health and Physical Education, National Recreation and Park Association, YMCA, and numerous sporting related groups. A graduate of the University of Florida, McCammon resides in Nashville, TN.
THE MCCAMMON STORY —
Back in the 1990s I became a PGA golf professional and started my career as the First Assistant golf professional at Fisher Island Golf course – an island adjacent to South Beach in Miami, Florida. In that position, I taught dozens of women how to start playing golf.
In addition, I worked with a local Episcopal school in South Miami to provide after-school golf lessons on their soccer field. I also was part of the team that helped start juniors at a Boys and Girls club.
This life experience planted a seed in me to bring the game of golf to all ages and backgrounds as I witnessed seeing the character development, relationship and integrity the sport provided.
What was the genesis for ShortGolf?
Wally Armstrong, a past PGA tour player, developed modified equipment back in the year 2000. He kept making and creating additional targets, games, etc. and eventually a group in England followed the idea and developed ShortGolf.
Explain how the activities of ShortGolf differ from your competition?
We develop programs and curriculum to facilitate the best implementation for a specific environment and the equipment matches the programming needs. For example, we have a program for K-5 elementary schools to have golf as a PE class. We have different programming for a golf professional to run a clinic for five-year-old girls at a golf course.
Can golf, on its traditional form, truly succeed with the bombardment of time pressures all people face today?
Yes, there will be alternative ways people are introduced to the sport like Topgolf but the human nature of people at all ages for a sense of human interaction will become even more relevant as technology takes away our physical meetings. I believe golf will be one of the best ways to cope with a new technological society and the game will grow from 25 million to over 40 million. I think that women and minority participants will be the majority of the growth.
How impactful is instruction with those at the youngest of ages?
Incredibly important to have a well-trained coach/ instructor for particular age groups. Starting a woman at age forty is very different than starting a girl age five. So, the curriculum/programming to train and teach a coach/instructor for the different age groups makes a huge difference.
Can instruction be overdone to the point where unbridled fun is choked off?
Yes, the most important aspect of learning any sport is PLAY. We call it “play – practice –play” at ShortGolf. All sports have a play version as they learn. In golf, it takes a while before you can play so a lot of instruction is needed until you can learn to play and step on a golf course.ShortGolf provides a vehicle to play in your first lesson so you can play while you progress with instruction and learning.
Your greatest job satisfaction comes from doing what?
Predictions that then come true. We have an amazing team and we have internal predictions of markets, percentages, programs etc. So, we love to set goals/ predictions and then when they become a reality there is tremendous satisfaction.
How does ShortGolf reach those with lesser incomes and those who are minorities?
The best part about ShortGolf is we reach everyone, especially the lower incomes and minorities. We have a partnership with The First Tee placing ShortGolf in thousands of PE classes in lower income public elementary schools reaching millions of kids. In addition, we have the Boys and Girls Club starting to implement ShortGolf in their locations and we are working with Parks and Recs in communities around the country.
Are the activities of ShortGolf being supported by any of the major golf organizations and if so how and if not why not?
Yes, we have The First Tee as a partner placing ShortGolf into schools and other locations in a community. The PGA Tour has placed their logo on our equipment and working with us to spread the word about getting more juniors interested in starting golf. We have a good relationship with LPGA Girls golf instructors using ShortGolf as an easier way to start a young girl. We are working with numerous PGA sections to get golf into more schools, parks and recs etc. We are a business affiliate with the National Golf Course Owners Association. In Europe we have a good relationship with the R&A who has sent ShortGolf kits to 47 different countries.
What role do you see schools – whether public or private – playing in spurring young people to play golf?
That is the best infrastructure for the golf industry to establish so every child is introduced to the game and the incredible life skills associated with the sport. We are very focused working with the First Tee and the elementary public schools and then we have similar initiatives for private schools. There simply are not enough after school programs in golf at the school level like the other sports. So the key is to get more schools to organize an after school progression for the kids that want to continue to learn more in golf.
The biggest short term and long term challenges facing ShortGolf is what?
Short term the logistics of inventory demands in the United States and globally. Long term to develop the B2B simultaneously with the B2C and keep servicing all clients while developing more programs, curriculum and equipment.
All Photos Courtesy of ShortGolf
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