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Fun in the Sun: Mount Vernon Country Club Summer Youth Programming Benefits the Entire Family and the Club

Like many clubs around the country, Mount Vernon Country Club (MVCC) in Alexandria, Va., has seen a surge of members with school-age children. Just five years ago, MVCC had 400 children

under the age of 18 within the membership. In 2022, the club is delighted to have nearly 700 and that number will likely increase again this year. This rapid growth presents opportunities for the club to expand its offerings for our members’ children that not only provide a great experience for them, but also enhance their parents’ experience at the club.

MVCC is a member-owned club situated on 135 acres of what used to be part of George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate. The rolling topography and Dogue Creek, a tidal tributary to the Potomac River, provide a welcome respite from the business and politics happening at the Capitol

in Washington, D.C., just 18 miles away. The club was founded in 1961 as a nine-hole course that was later expanded to 18 holes and a competition pool was added. Today, golf and swimming are the primary activities offered to members along with many social events for both parents and children.


There are a lot of ways people are introduced to the game of golf. Usually, it’s from a friend or coworker, but with Mount Vernon’s Summer Youth program, it’s not unusual for children to introduce their parents to club life.

The Summer Youth Program at MVCC was originally developed to give children within the community whose parents don’t play golf an opportunity to gain the knowledge and etiquette required to promote enjoyment of the game. MVCC created the program to grow the game of golf for promising junior golfers who wanted to have a competitive experience in a safe and private environment. Giving students the knowledge of the rules and etiquette of golf while providing exposure to private club course conditions is aimed at increasing their chances to make or improve their game into high school and beyond.

For a student to be considered for the program, there is a formal application and interview process with the director of membership, PGA director of golf and head golf professional. The student must have a recommendation from a golf coach and a demonstrated dedication to development. The summer fee includes unlimited use of the practice facilities and maintenance of a USGA handicap. The junior is eligible to participate in all junior golf programs, including the InterClub team and Junior Club Championships. The junior is provided with a membership number and is able to order food and drinks just as a regular member of the club would. For members and the management team, it is gratifying to see the junior member invite their parents to dine at the club after a great round on the course or practice session on the driving range. Parents are responsible for all charges incurred at the club, but it’s still fun for the student. To ensure the experience is a positive one for all involved, an orientation is provided by the golf professional or membership director upon acceptance and prior to use of the facilities.

MVCC Head Golf Professional John Oberly has also started a player development program for members’ children, offering events and instruction to have fun through learning in group lessons, spring and summer camps as well as tournament play

throughout the season. In an effort to make the group lessons and camps a valuable experience for the juniors, they are grouped based on age and, to some degree, experience. Kids are eligible for golf camps and group lessons once they reach the age of five.

Spring youth clinics begin in April and are divided into groups aged five through seven, and eight and older. The primary focus of the spring clinics is to begin work on the fundamentals of the game along with etiquette and safety. Typically, four golf professionals will conduct the clinics on Saturdays and to make the experience as fun as possible, skills are taught using targets and games. It also presents a goal to work toward as the skills are learned.

After school has broken for summer, four-day youth golf camps begin in late June. Again, players are grouped according to age.

MVCC uses the Operation 36 program, which is a fun and engaging way for kids to learn about the game, hone skills and play. The Operation 36 method sets a goal of shooting a score of 36 beginning from 25 yards away for nine holes and progressing to longer distances once the goal is achieved. There are six levels in the program; within those levels are 12 subject areas to learn. Once a student masters the skills and knowledge within the rank, they can move to the next level. MVCC provides each student a profile so they can track their progress in the program by reviewing statistics and tracking objectives and goals. Students can also make playing and training logs. The program covers the primary categories needed to become a proficient player: putting, around the green, full swing, bunker play, fairway woods and driving. Emphasis is placed on the rules of golf, proper etiquette and how to conduct oneself in a country club environment.

Juniors love having tournaments like they see their parents participating in, so MVCC provides opportunities to compete in a number of tournaments geared toward kids. Each year, there is a Junior Club Championship for both girls and boys, bracketed by age group. In addition to the championship, there is an Adult-

Junior Twilight during the season that runs from March through late August. The league culminates with the Adult-Junior Twilight Championship trophy event at the end of the season. These golf programs have been very popular among the juniors and lets them know they are a vital part of MVCC. There is also an important social connection juniors make with each other that makes spending time at the club a real joy. At the end of the season, the club holds a Season Finale with a barbeque and awards program.


Like the golf program, the Mount Vernon Barracuda swim team has grown in size and popularity with juniors. For decades, MVCC has participated in inter-club swim competitions with other private clubs in Northern Virginia. The Barracudas swim team is an important part of the club and as such, has a permanent spot on the club’s standing House Committee to ensure their needs are accounted for and, if needed, reported directly to the board of directors.

More than 100 juniors participated with the Barracudas in 2021, competing in six Saturday meets leading up to an all-star meet at the end of the season. The team is open to all ages that can

demonstrate the skills needed to compete, but generally, they are divided into groups eight years old and under and nine years old and older. In addition to practices and Saturday meets, the team has a vibrant social component to foster bonds among the juniors and build lifelong relationships and connection to the club. In fact, former club vice president Ann Ebberts swam on the Barracuda team when she was growing up. The team holds several pep rallies on Friday evenings at the pool to prepare for Saturday meets. These rallies feature fun aquatic activities, buffet, face painting and games for the juniors to show their pride in the club. Outside of practices, swim meets and pep rallies, the team also participates in field trips and other off-campus activities to grow and learn.

Social Programs

With a growing number of juniors at the club participating in sporting activities, MVCC also had the opportunity to create more engaging social events for children during the summer months.

For example, in conjunction with summer golf lessons and camps, the clubhouse staff works with the golf professional to coordinate and organize indoor activity camps for the juniors. The indoor activities begin immediately after the camps with 30 minutes for lunch. After lunch, participants dive right into something fun to do for the rest of the afternoon.

Past activities have included things like learning how to make pizza with the chef, tie-dying t-shirts with summer college interns who are studying hospitality, or they may head over to the pool to play water games. Golf camps and daily activities are something working families at the club really look forward to because the children are in a safe environment, creating lifelong memories with other fellow Junior members.

MVCC also holds social events geared toward juniors such as teen trivia night, pool parties, movie nights at the pool, “drive-in” movie night on the 18th fairway and other events juniors look forward to attending.

Mount Vernon Country Club has embraced a family-centered approach that has been good for member engagement at all age levels and made our juniors feel like they are an important part of the club.

Cindy Hurrle is MVCC’s Membership & Marketing Director. She can be reached at [email protected]. NCA VP of Government Relations and MVCC Past President Joe Trauger contributed to this feature.