The gift of golf is one of the greatest things a parent can share with a child. How do you get them started off on the right foot?. Here at Junior.Golf we are big fans of introducing kids to golf at a young age. The game has so many positive attributes and provides a platform for exponential learning. The earlier you start (prior to the child being over-subscribed to a myriad of other sports) the more successful you will be in “planting the golf seed.”
We believe that making golf fun, relaxing, and positive is crucial to your child’s success. Your child may not have the perfect swing—yet—but we believe the only way to grow their skillset AND their love of the game (funny how those two things depend on one another), is to focus more on enjoyment rather than perfection.
How I Got My Kids to Love Golf
Is it really that difficult to get your kids to try…and love…golf? In a Golf Digest article, Johnny Miller said that the most important thing you can do to get your kids involved, and remaining in the sport, is “unadulterated praise. When your 7-year-old hits a good shot, say “Great shot!” When he hits a bad shot, exclaim, “Great swing!” Bob Rotella mentioned that you shouldn’t necessarily teach the child but instead, let the kid teach you! Most importantly, Mr. Rotella explained that, “the best thing you can do is show your kids what a great time you’re having. If they see you having a wonderful time, then chances are they’ll have a good time, too.”
Make golf fun for kids and in turn, they will want to see what all of the excitement is all about!
Below is an excerpt from David Bryce, is an online publisher for Thousand Hills Golf Resort in Branson, MO. David has come up with five points he believes are necessary to engage and encourage children in the sport so that they find it a positive experience.
It wasn’t as hard to do as one might think. In fact, it wasn’t difficult at all. I’ll tell you the secret right now. It was all about the environment. In short, it was positive and fun. I let the kids like it on their own terms and not mine. While each experience with undoubtedly by different and unique, there are things that can be done to help foster a love of the game. Start young. I hear this regularly from many other parents and pros. Starting young will help them develop skills as a young mind is a sponge ready to soak up information. Granted, introducing a young child to golf takes patience, it can prove to be well worth it. With a young child, say three, four, or five years old, the best thing you can do is give them a golf club (preferably one more their size) and a ball to hit around the backyard. Avoid the TV. At first, anyway. I mean this twofold. This is a point a few of my friends like to argue with me on. While I’m sure there are a few kids really enjoy to watch golf, it’s generally after they have a grasp of what’s going on. The best way to get that grasp and understanding of the game is to play it firsthand. My second point is video gaming. There are a few golf games out there and even fewer that are genuinely good. You can’t learn to play with a controller, even if it is motion sensitive. In my experience, due to the simplicity of the gameplay, the games can give a false impression of the game both in terms of physical environment and personal ability, especially when you’re trying to learn the game in the real world. These games lack weight, gravity, and in many cases, a sense of reality.
Once a child has a grasp of the game, then yes, it’s a good idea to watch professional matches on TV (and in person, if possible). They can see how these players interact with the course, how they hit the ball and how they concentrate, plus they’ll probably land on a player who they’ll idolize and want to emulate, and emulation is an excellent learning tool.
Get out and play. Go to a practice green or a driving range, or both. When you’re there, focus on showing and not telling. Let them observe you and others, then let them have at it, in fact, the soon they’re swinging the golf club, the better, since watching someone else enjoy something is exceptionally boring. They’re not going to be perfect on the first, second, or twenty-fifth swing, but they’ll gradually improve. Your goal is to let them discover the love of the game for themselves, so take a step back (which, when they’re swinging, you and everyone else should be a few steps back). Nothing is more satisfying than the feeling of the head of the club comes into contact with the ball and that ball is sent soaring. Kids learn that one fast. Work on form. Once kids have a feel for absolute basics, you’ll likely have to intervene a bit to work on their form. Yes, you can get a golf pro or register them for classes, but it’s good to start off with a familiar. However, this is where observing pros play can be beneficial. Emulation is great for working on form. Kids will likely need assistance getting into various forms, but don’t let yourself become a rusty pair of training wheels. Again, focus on fun. Hit the golf course. Take them to a municipal or similar course where their talents won’t be judged and the patrons are more likely to have more patience. Let them play golf on their own terms, but encourage them to use the skills they have picked along the way. They’ll quickly discover the more they use those skills and the better their form is, the better their performance will be. Have a fun time, cheer them on and shower them with praise when hit a good shot.
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