Teaching Golf Etiquette to Kids: Building Character on the Golf Course

Golf is an amazing sport for kids to learn from a young age. It’s fun (a big bonus for young ones!), but aside from that, it’s one of the best sports to teach them strategic thinking, patience, discipline, and critical thinking.

Plus, being out on a golf course, mini-golf layout, or even a driving range is a lovely way of being away from the city and closer to nature. The physical and mental benefits of golf (and nature) are well-documented, so this is definitely a great choice of sport to involve your kid in!

But teaching golf etiquette to kids is just as important as teaching them to play the game. Golf remains a gentleman, and gentlewoman’s sport, and etiquette is ingrained in the culture of the sport! Here’s why you should focus on etiquette as much as your kid’s golf swing when they’re learning to play the game.

Why Teaching Golf Etiquette to Kids is Important

Golf is a sophisticated sport. Whether you’re a complete beginner learning the ropes or you’re an experienced golfer who’s played on courses across the globe… The etiquette behind the sport remains the same.

Getting your kids into sports at a young age is fantastic for their overall health and well-being, both physical and mental. But golf is particularly amazing for the other benefits it can offer growing kids—including the opportunity to develop soft skills like respect, consideration, and support for others.

This is where etiquette comes into play. While learning how to swing a golf club is essential if you want your child to be good at the game and enjoy it, teaching them the etiquette side of the sport will go a long way towards building their character and developing those all-important life skills.

The Basics of Golf Etiquette

Golf is built on a foundation of honor and dignity, so teaching your child to respect the game and the etiquette that comes with it will serve them well… Not only in the game but in general life! Etiquette has far-reaching effects, so by teaching your kid golf etiquette, you’re also teaching them about being a decent human.

Respect for the Course

Golf courses are works of art. They’re also mother nature in all her splendor! A large part of golf etiquette is teaching your kids to respect the course itself is essential.

The easiest thing to start with is repairing divots because everyone (kid or not) is bound to leave a few of them during a round! This is a small but important action and teaches respect for the very ground you’re playing on. Encourage your kids to get into the habit of checking after shots and repairing any marks they’ve left.

If your kids are at the age where they’re playing out of bunkers, then you can also get them into the habit of raking the bunker after their shot. Ultimately, they should be leaving every green patch and sand trap the way they found it, or better than that.

Proper use of golf carts also falls under this heading. It’s tempting for adults as well as kids to get a bit wild with the golf cart, but this can be dangerous to other people on the course, as well as causing damage to the course.

Encourage your kids to be respectful, stick to the path, and treat the golf cart like their own property. These might sound like small things, but these are what grow respectful golfers!

Respect for Other Golfers

Although golf courses are pretty large, you’re bound to come across other people when playing a round at some point. And if you’re still teaching your kid on the driving range or mini-golf course, you’ll definitely be surrounded by others, so encouraging respect for others is a must.

The pace of play is a big thing on both full-sized courses and mini-golf layouts. Teach your kids not to linger and hold up other players, but at the same time, be patient with others who might fall behind in their gameplay.

If your kids are playing in tournaments, it’s the perfect chance to practice the politeness that comes with being a golfer. Encourage them to introduce themselves to their playing partners, maintain a calm demeanor throughout (no matter what happens), remove their hats and shake hands with others when the round is over.

Keep the noise down, make sure you (and your shadow) don’t get in the way of other players’ shots, and always remain respectful, regardless of how your playing partners behave.

Respect for the Dress Code

Depending on how old your kid is, they may or may not make their own dress choices for the golf course. Either way, keep in mind that most golf courses don’t allow jeans, sweatpants, casual shorts, or slip-on shoes.

Most golf clubs require you to wear slacks and a collared shirt. Encourage your kid to dress the part on the golf course—not only is it respectful of the culture of the sport, but looking good leads to feeling good too!

Respect for the Rules

This one is imperative: no cheating! From a young age, you should encourage your child to follow the rules of sport. While you can make concessions for them while they’re still learning and playing with you on the course, when it comes to joining tournaments and playing with others, honesty is ALWAYS the best policy.

For example, playing the ball as it lies is something your kid is going to need to learn. If they hit a bad shot, there’s no moving the ball around to make the next one easier—they’ll have to play it from wherever it landed.

If they’re keeping their own scores, you’ll also have to impress upon them that accurate and honest scorekeeping is something they will need to choose to do every round.

Teaching Golf Etiquette to Kids: Tips for Parents

  • Start them young! The sooner you start building good habits, the more ingrained they’ll be as your child grows older.
  • Lead by example. Be the role model by sticking to all of the rules yourself and showing respect for the course and other golfers. This is the best way that kids learn!
  • Be patient. It takes time for kids to develop these habits. Remind them when necessary, but be patient and persistent with your gentle reminders.
  • Be open to questions. Be approachable if your kids have questions. Stay patient here—sometimes you’ve explained something before, but they need to grasp it in a different way to truly understand it.
  • Make it fun! Kids learn best when they’re enjoying themselves. You can play games or include rewards if they get their etiquette right—find creative ways to make learning golf etiquette fun!

About the Author: Jordan Fuller is a retired golfer and businessman. When he’s not on the course working on his own game or mentoring young golfers, he writes in-depth articles for his website, Golf Influence.


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