Photo credit – Evan Schiller
Golf is one of the greatest games ever played, and what a joy it can be to introduce it to a child. Golf offers many valuable life lessons and skills, including patience, determination, and humility. It’s challenging, yet one of the most rewarding games out there.
For parents looking to get their kids into golf, Master Instructor Laird Small, from the world-renowned Pebble Beach Golf Academy, has compiled four tips to help junior golfers get started.
1. First, Have Fun
Remember, golf is a game, and all games should be fun to learn and play! By making the environment safe both physically and emotionally, kids will be more eager to learn about the game. Keep in mind that they may hit more bad shots than good at the start, but stay positive and continuously encourage them. Remember that junior golfers are growing each day they continue to play.
2. Sign Up for Lessons
For kids interested in learning golf, the best thing parents can do is support their interest and provide good coaching lessons on a regular basis. Lessons can be once per week or twice per month and can be as short as 30 minutes. Make sure they have clubs that are appropriate for their size. Junior golfers don’t need a full set of clubs when they are first starting out.
3. Practice Makes Perfect
To get good at something, you must practice. Teach beginners to learn from their experiences and put those lessons to good use. If they are putting, take three balls to a target – let’s say a 10-foot putt. If their first putt was to the right of the target, ask them what they would do differently on the next putt – and see what they come up with. This allows them to learn from their efforts and enables them to figure out what to do better next time. It is also important to realize that the attention span of beginning junior golfers is short, so keep changing the skills. Hit balls on the range for 5 minutes, go putt for the same amount of time, and then go chip.
4. Make it Social
Keep in mind that golf is a social game! Invite their friends to a lesson, to a range session, or for nine holes on a par three course. This can make it more fun and social, and they will make new friends along the way.
One of the best courses for junior golfers is The Hay at Pebble Beach. This nine-hole short course was created to be a fun place where juniors, families, and friends, regardless of their ability, could gather around the game of golf. Last year, Tiger Woods amplified Hay’s vision and added an additional 20,000 square-foot putting course that sprawls 100 yards, perfect for golfers just getting started. Another perk, juniors under 12 years of age play for free!