You and I know how much fun golf is and all the benefits that come with it. However, trying to explain that to children can be tricky.
Traditionally, golf is for retired older adults, but that has all changed over the past couple of decades or so.
Your child can get the same enjoyment you get from the game but at an earlier age with all the resources available. Golf courses and driving ranges now have junior clinics and camps to get more kids into the game of golf.
Before you enroll them in golf school, here are the top 5 things to do when starting your kid in golf.
If the game isn’t fun, then what’s the point? You and I play for many different reasons, which will be different from a child’s reason. Finding an aspect about the game that makes it fun will grab any kid’s attention.
Let your child gravitate to whichever part of the game they want to. Most will want to hit the driver as far as possible, so why not let them? Putting is also another excellent starting point for kids. Sinking a putt and watching it fall in the cup is gratifying, no matter the distance. Let them sink as many 1-inch putts as they want if they’re having fun.
You can introduce some games as well.
If they’re using a driver, then choose two flags for the kid to aim their drives between. Choose ones that are far apart at first. As they get more shots between them, select flags that are closer together.
On the putting green, you can set up a little mini-golf course. This will teach them the importance of each stroke, and they can practice keeping score. Be sure to include long holes and short ones for variety. The short holes can be used to gain confidence.
Parents’ biggest mistake is to force their child into the game too early. This can have lasting adverse effects and turn them off the game for a long time, possibly forever.
Try talking about the game at home first and build some anticipation. If your child sees you leaving the house with your clubs, they will naturally want to go with you. Capitalize on that momentum by showing them some golf videos or magazines.
Try watching a golf movie together as well. “The Greatest Game Ever Played” is about a young kid playing (and beating adults). His caddie is an even younger kid, and the best part, it’s a true story.
Ideally, the age of 5 is a great time to start them on their golfing paths. This age may be different for each kid, but at five and above, the child has some problem-solving skills and will enjoy outdoor activities.
Golf is an individual sport; it’s one of the many reasons we love it so much. Let your child experience this magic as well by allowing them to learn at their own pace. A lot is going on with golf, and overwhelming your child will not get them to fall in love with the game.
If they only want to hit drivers one day, then let them. As long as they enjoy it and try to figure it out for themselves, who cares how many drivers they hit?
Having a disciplined practice routine may work for advanced golfers to improve, but a child is still unsure whether they even like it. So let them experiment and find the aspects they love the most.
Don’t be too strict with the rules and etiquette just yet. They will talk in your backswing and step in a few lines at first. Once they are hooked, they’ll be more receptive to learning the small rules that make the culture of golf so unique.
Gone are the days of sawed-off 9-irons from your Grampa’s old set of Tommy Armours. Now clubs are made specifically for juniors.
This is a massive advantage to kids since the weighting is made for them. Even though a cut-down club is shorter and lighter than it was, it’s still too heavy for young kids. The head is heavier than a junior club head, making it hard to control or gain any speed.
The cut-down shaft will also be a problem for first-timers. If it’s a steel shaft, then it was already pretty stiff. By cutting it, you make it even stiffer and near impossible for a child to get any distance, even with a good swing.
Getting your child a set of their own junior clubs will help their game and their confidence. Having their own set, just like everyone else, will make them feel included. We all remember our first set, and buying new clubs still gives us a thrill no matter what age we’re at.
Golf is unique in that we can play it alone or with friends. Not a lot of sports can say that–it’s kind of hard to play tennis by yourself. But when you’re trying to get a child into the game of golf, making it social for them will expedite the process.
Having other new kids who want to play will show your child that they are not the only ones. Having a partner or a class full of beginners is a great way to help them adapt to all things golf.
As they get older, you won’t have to play with them all the time as they will have their own friends to golf with.
Getting them started this way will make it fun. Even if they are only going to see their friends the first few times, at least they are at the golf course, outside, and getting some exercise.
There is no right or wrong way to get a child interested in golf. The key factor is not to apply pressure and maintain the fact that this is a game.
If you focus more on the world of golf and less on mechanics and etiquette, then your child will naturally start to ask questions about those things.
As we all know, you don’t have to be good at golf to enjoy it for a lifetime.
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