The team at Stonebridge Golf Club are continually creating new opportunities to grow the game of golf, especially junior golf, in Northwest Georgia.
The core objective of Go Futures is to grow the game. In our spotlights, we showcase the achievements of our industry professionals’ player development programs.
Patrick Kirn, General Manager, and Instructors, Travis Nance and Ken Bishop, of Stonebridge Golf Club in Rome, Georgia run a robust junior golf program.
Question: How many overall participants did we have through your programming?
Answer: In 2020, our instructors taught over 700 junior private lessons.
Q: Summarize your plan for continuing to grow your facility’s programs.
A: Last year, we had a strong junior presence at the Stonebridge Academy and hope to see that again in 2021 by promoting and encouraging the Kids Play Free program, junior memberships, and our Youth on Course partnership.
In 2021, we are adding: a 3 day clinic in July, a new Junior Program which includes a series of lessons and a three-month junior membership, and a Beginner Golfer Program that will introduce juniors to golf in a variety of ways for free. At the Beginner Golfer Program, we strongly encourage parents to join their kids and play with them to provide support.
Q: What are the strengths to your facility and location? What are the challenges that you face?
A: We have an amazing practice facility with an indoor/outdoor and grass driving range. Our 5 covered hitting areas are equipped with TopTracer Range technology. TopTracer Range provides golfers a swing analysis and a variety of options to enhance the practice experience. Additionally, our 18-hole championship golf course has 5 sets of tees allowing for a variety of skill levels an on-course experience.
The biggest challenge we face is our location. Rome, Georgia is a small town, 30 miles from the interstate.
Q: Why do people come to you and why do they stay?
A: Service is our number one priority and the motivating factor why golfers choose Stonebridge. Our staff does a great job making everyone, regardless of skill level, feel comfortable while at Stonebridge. Whether it’s on the course or hitting the range, friendly service is our motto.
Q: Please share a story of a student (current or former) who has stood out because of their passion for learning and playing the game, personal growth, improvement, tournament success or major achievement such as winning an award, earning a scholarship or becoming a PGA Pro.
A: A student started taking lessons from Ken Bishop and his scores were consistently in the high 120’s. The student had a goal to make the high school golf team and compete in matches. He was able to improve his scores into the high 90’s and made Rome’s high school golf team for the 2020 spring season. Unfortunately, COVID-19 cancelled the season and he did not get to play in any matches. But that didn’t stop him from continuing to learn from Ken. He practiced through the summer to prepare for next season. Through his dedication he broke 80 for the first time with a 79 (even bogeyed the last 2 holes). This year, the student was able to compete in high school matches and played as the #1 or #2 spot for each event. Ken and the Stonebridge Team are so proud of this student’s dedication, hard work, and focus on his goal. We can’t wait to keep watching him improve!
Q: What is your drive to grow the game?
A: All the instructors love to watch the growth of our junior golfers. It is the driving force behind what we do and the best part about giving lessons. Our junior golfers are always eager to learn about the swing and, more importantly, putting to constantly improve.
Q: Why did you choose golf as a career?
A: Both Ken and Travis took up golf at an early age and have been hooked ever since. Travis found success playing on mini tours in his 20’s before finding his true calling: helping golfers improve their swing and enjoy the game. Ken loves to learn about the golf swing and his students. He attends clinics from a variety of PGA professionals and coaches to keep improving his teaching skills.