So, your little one is finally old enough to start golfing! This presents you — a loving parent and avid golfer — with a couple of fantastic opportunities.
As the “responsible parent,” you have a perfect opportunity to teach your child some important lessons about decision-making and leading a positive, healthy lifestyle. After all, golf is a game of honor. It’s a game without referees — the participants are trusted to play with honesty, integrity, and respect for their teammates and opponents.
As the “fun parent,” you’ll be teaching your child a wonderful game that they can practice and enjoy for the rest of their lives. You’ll be creating memories together that they will talk about with friends and loved ones long after they’ve finished school, married, and had children. As with anything you teach your children, however, there are right ways and wrong ways to go about teaching your kids to golf.
Just a few years ago, about the only way to get a set of “kids” clubs was to cut down a set of ad
ult clubs. That may take care of the length problem, but the heads will still be too heavy for a child. Fortunately, there are several companies making golf clubs specifically for kids. This is definitely the way to go. You may have been psyched to “repurpose” those old clubs in the garage, but ill-fitted equipment will often cause your child to develop bad habits that will be tough to get rid of later.
Focus on FUN
The last thing you want to do is to force your child to lose interest in golf by using the wrong approach to teaching. It’s important to remember that golf is just a game, and your child should be having fun, not stressing over technique. There’s no better way to turn a kid off learning to play than taking the fun out of the game. Focus on a couple simple aspects of the game to help them learn — like proper grip — but keep the game fun and relaxed. Remember, your kid probably just wants to hit the ball, ride around in the cart, and hang out with Mom and Dad for the afternoon — learning correct technique isn’t very high on their priority list.
At the youngest age for a beginning golfer (four or five), just making contact with the ball is an accomplishment. The first few times you take a toddler golfing requires a huge amount of patience. You need to continue to encourage them, and try to keep from correcting them when they take a bad shot. Again, you don’t want your child to lose interest in golf right away — that will make it tougher to get them into golf in the long run.
Getting Started at the Range
Once you have correctly fitted clubs and your child is ready to give golf a try, it’s time to head to the range. Start them off on the practice green. Putting is a huge part of the game, and it’s also the easiest aspect of the game to pick up. Show your child the proper grip and let them have fun. Be patient, and be encouraging.
The next thing to try is chipping. Again, take it easy with the instruction. Show them how to grip the club and let them take a few swings. Make sure your child doesn’t interfere with other golfers. Be patient, and be encouraging.
Finally, you can let your child try a full swing with one of their irons. You may not get to this stage during your first session — your child’s attention probably won’t last an hour, and you don’t want to bore them. Again, talk about the correct grip and let them swing.
You’re on your way! Be careful — the first few times you take your child golfing can have a lasting impact on their opinion of the game throughout their lives. The most important thing is to make it fun — begin on a virtual course if you needed. If you act like you’re training them for the Pro Tour when they’re only six years old, they’ll probably avoid the game forever. With the correct approach, however, you’ll be giving them a gift that they can enjoy for the rest of their
Matt is an avid golf enthusiast and part of the TruGolf.com team. When he’s not working on his fairway shot, you will find Matt writing about his passion for the process of the game.