Blake Jirges, PGA, is deeply invested in building the next generation of golfers.
A U.S. Kids Golf Top 50 Master Teacher in America with ADM certification, Jirges specializes in junior golf coaching. As the Director of Player Development at Coto de Caza Golf and Racquet Club in Orange County, California, he also recognizes that nurturing lifelong golfers means engaging players of all ages and skill levels.
So when it came time to plan an end-of-season celebration for his PGA Jr. League players and their families, Jirges and his team saw an opportunity to develop would-be golfers and cap the summer season with a PGA Family Cup event.
“An [end-of-the-season] PGA Family Cup event is a way to invite our members and people who may not have played golf in the past to the facility,” Jirges said. “Through PGA Jr. League and PGA Family Cup, we are able to create experiences for our players and their families and utilize golf as the outlet.”
At Coto de Caza, Jirges runs a four-team in-house league. This year, more than 50 players took part in the summer season, including 13 players who weren’t members at the club. Jirges planned the PGA Family Cup event just prior to an end-of-the-season PGA Jr. League banquet, hoping to create a stronger bond between the facility and the players and their families.
“Some people had never played a tournament before, so it was just a fun way to introduce them to the format,” Jirges said of the PGA Family Cup event. “[After the event], we can engage them more, whether that’s taking lessons at our facility or just playing more golf on the course. We want to build lifelong golfers, and that’s a benefit to everyone—the club and the player.”
A 9-hole shotgun scramble, Coto de Caza’s PGA Family Cup event also featured a par 3 contest. At the banquet that followed, Jirges and his team recognized PGA Jr. League achievements and awarded prizes to families who participated in the Family Cup event.
“We gave three top team prizes,” Jirges said. “One to the lowest score, one to the team who maybe didn’t play too well but had the most fun, and the best dressed team—so it wasn’t just about the score or how they played but more about the camaraderie and engagement.”
Members of Jirges’ team also took photos of the participating families prior to the start of the PGA Family Cup scramble, quickly printed them and presented them to families in a keepsake picture frame from the PGA Family Cup Team Kit.
For Jirges, planning a PGA Family Cup event as part of an end-of-season celebration just makes sense.
“PGA Family Cup ties so nicely to PGA Jr. League,” he said. “It’s an easy initiative to run after the PGA Jr. League season. It’s a natural progression that allows you to invite families into the fun and build on the foundation of PGA Jr. League.”
It’s a foundation Jirges and his team at Coto de Caza hope to continue building on long into the future.
“We plan to offer PGA Family Cup once a year after each PGA Jr. League season,” Jirges said. “We had over 50 participants in our first Family Cup, and, next year, our goal is to have over 100 participants. It’s going to be a great yearly event for our membership!”