Pint-Sized Putters: How to Get Your Kids Into Golf
The game of golf continues to be one of America's greatest past times. In fact, in recent years the game has experienced continued growth, particularly among junior golfers with 2.5 million in 2010 growing to 3 million in 2013. Golf is as popular as ever and is one of the most versatile sports in that it can be played and enjoyed by people of all ages. So how do you spark an interest in the game you love with your own kids? How do you gift them with a game they will be able to participate in for the rest of their lives? Teaching kids golf can look like a difficult task, but you might be getting a round in with your children sooner than you might think!
The Right Time to Start
As with any sport, it can be tricky to decide when to introduce golf to your child. By now, most know the story of Tiger Woods starting to play golf at just two years old. Just to get it out of the way early, chances are your child might not take to the game like two-year-old Tiger. And that's ok! Your child doesn't have to show signs of being a prodigy in order to enjoy the game. You can introduce the idea of golf at an early age by getting some plastic toy clubs and letting your child have at it. When they are young, the technique takes a backseat. It's more important that they are excited about playing. If that means aimless, one-handed swings with plastic clubs at first then so be it.
Teaching Kids Golf Should Be Fun
As years go on your child can enjoy golf in a more serious and competitive nature, but it is important not to burn them out on the game early on. Keeping the game low-pressure is helpful when trying to get the game to stick. This doesn't mean waiting until their late teens to get them off the driving range and practice greens and onto the course. While it may be intimidating at first, you can only practice off the course so much before it becomes stale. Keeping them off the course for too long runs the risk of them finding the game boring. Once it is time to get on the course, here are some tips for keeping the game stress free for you and your child.
Bend the rules
Kids will want to continue playing if they are good. Letting them tee off closer to the hole and developing a scoring system that allows them to score well is advantageous to keep their interest.
Avoid Peak Hours
When it comes to scheduling a tee time at Northland CC, you'll want to avoid peak business hours. It's best to avoid times like Sunday mornings when they will have the pressure of every Golfer at the course waiting on them. Opting for weekdays and later tee times is optimal at the beginning
Odds are the first time you go out with your child they won't have the stamina or attention span for a full 18-holes. If you get the sense that they are tired or losing interest, end the game on the next hole or two. This ensures that they walk away from the experience having had fun rather than dragging it out.
Opt for the Golf Cart
Walking the course may be soothing for you, but kids are going to want to ride in the cart and if it makes it more enjoyable, then that's a good thing.
It is important to give your kid the tools they need to be successful. We all know that kids grow like weeds and often times parents make the mistake of buying clubs that a child can 'grow into' rather than clubs that fit their current size. Buying clubs that are too big and heavy can be detrimental to their swing. Bulky clubs will force your child to learn the wrong technique because they are compensating for ill-fitting clubs. Cut down adult clubs are an option, but they can also be heavier than they need to be and awkward for kids to use. So how can you set your child up for early success in the game without buying new clubs every time they decide to grow a couple inches? We get it, golf clubs aren't cheap, so this is not to say that you need to go out and splurge on the best of the best for your child's size. In fact, we would advise against it. There is no reason to empty your checkbook on clubs that will be unusable sooner rather than later. A good way to save money and still provide your child with clubs acceptable for their size is by taking advantage of used or rented clubs. This way, when they outgrow certain clubs, you can upgrade as they go rather than having a set you paid good money for collect dust in the garage.
Once your child has shown a genuine interest in the game and is of an age where their attention can be kept for an hour or so it can be a good time to introduce formal lessons. Even if you are a decent player yourself, often times teaching can be a different skill. Lessons can help your child master fundamentals like their swing and grip that will allow them to play the game better.
Enjoy the Quality Time
Always remember that the reason for teaching kids golf isn't so that they wind up on the PGA Tour one day. Although that would be exciting, what you will take away most from playing the game with your child is not what they shot on a given day, but the bond you share with them because of a mutual love for golf. We hope you enjoy the valuable time spent with your kids and you can check out our blog for more great tips and golf advice.