The cool morning air hits you in the face as you step out of the shuttle. You rub the sleep out of your eyes. The driver grabs your clubs out of the back of the shuttle, sets them down, shakes your hand and gives you and your three best buddies a quick piece of golf advice, "Enjoy the morning walk, gents!"
You make your way towards the Bandon Trails clubhouse to check in and gear up for the busy day of golf. As you walk into the golf shop, there is a tall, wide-smiled golf professional waiting there who greets you with a "Good morning, sir! Anything I may help you with today?" He answers all your questions, and you make your way to the first tee feeling prepared for the day.
What you might not have found out during the haze of an early morning is that staffer who helped in the shop is not only enhancing your daily golf experience but is also making big moves in our local community to help bring the game of golf closer to our next generation!
Known around the resort as our junior golf guru, Scott Millhouser is not only the Head Golf Professional at Bandon Trails, but he's also the Head Golf Coach for Bandon High School and helps teach the Southwestern Oregon Community College men and women's golf teams.
We sat down with Scott between clinics to talk to him about his involvement with coaching young golfers, embodying the Bandon Dunes golf experience and balancing all of that with family life and two young kids at home.
Hey Scottie, thanks for all you do to ensure our guests and local juniors have the best golf experience possible. Let's start out with some history, where are you originally from, how long have you lived in Bandon and worked at the resort?
Thanks! I am originally from Dallas, Oregon. I have lived on the South Coast of Oregon for just over 11 years while working at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort.
Wow, the time sure does fly around here. Tell us, how do you balance work, play, coaching, and family life at home?
First, I have a wonderful wife who understands I am living my dream job. The culture at Bandon Dunes makes us feel like part of a larger family. My family enjoys playing golf, so we play where I work. Occasionally my young son will come to high school golf practice with me so we can spend more time together and the kids on the team have been great to him. We also enjoy the resort’s walking trails, and we do our best to get to the beach whenever we can.
A balanced life for sure! How long have you been coaching high school and junior golf around Bandon?
I started volunteering as the boy's Assistant Coach for Bandon High School nine years ago. I officially became the boy's Head Coach in 2012 and just finished my fifth season. This year I also took over as the girl's coach and have really enjoyed coaching both boys and girls golf. I've been involved with our junior golf programs at the resort since 2005. A couple of seasons later I realized that I wanted to follow through with the progress we had in our summer junior golf programs into the high school golf season.
How did your teams finish up this year?
We had our best turn out with sixteen boys and six girls this year! Both teams had a lot of fun and made solid progress in their games throughout the season. We had our top ranked girl win a few tournaments along with our top ranked boy winning a handful as well. Both kids have been participants in our summer junior golf programs over the past five years, and it has been incredibly fulfilling to see the progress they have made since they first attended our junior golf programs. Looking forward, we are excited to start building on the successes of this year and are lucky to have a number of returning players.
That is great stuff! Expand more on teaching golf to youngsters. What's rewarding about it? How do you ensure that your students balance fun and competition out on the course to keep them coming back for more?
Teaching golf to kids is extremely enjoyable. We try to provide a safe learning environment that cultivates confidence and character. This level of confidence allows them to have fun and be themselves. Their excitement for life, golf, and anything fun is contagious. It’s rewarding to see their reaction when they make their first putt or hit their first drive in the air and is longer than they expected. They smile, laugh, and cheer, and instantly you know they are hooked on golf. Once they hit a good shot, they cannot wait to show off what they have learned. We provide them with instruction followed by a brief competition. By keeping the competition short, they are left wanting more, and it helps bring them back week after week!
What is the best way to get kids excited about golf?
The best way to get kids excited about golf is to let them be themselves. Only focus on what they are doing right, because nobody likes being told what they are doing wrong. If you provide them with fun games and encouragement, they will remember that they had a great experience on the golf course and crave more.
Speaking of great experiences, when you take them out on our courses what is their reaction to the scenery? Does it remind you of the excitement we see in our adult guests?
Absolutely! Both our juniors and adult guests have the same reaction to our courses. It's like kids in a candy shop. They start dreaming about the next hole they are going to play and the enjoyment it will bring them.
Lastly, if there is a guest who is enquiring about junior clinics how should they go about finding more information?
They can email me at email@example.com or call my office at 541-347-5973. It is worth noting that a lot of our clinics are complimentary and conducted at our Practice Center. They can also check out our summer clinic schedule available at this link! Thanks for helping promote junior golf!
Scott's illustration has been featured on a custom club cover from Seamus Golf!
Big thanks to @seamusgolf for creating this head cover for my very close friend and Head Golf Pro at #bandontrails Scott Millhouser. Scott is a class act and this is an image of his beautiful, smooth, buttery golf swing!! Big love to him and #seamusgolf #whyilovethisgame #pga365 #oregongolf #bandondunes #bandondunesgolf @bandondunesgolf #pnwgolf #playerswanted #pacificdunes #enjoyyourwalk @boo_her @kempersports