Golfers of all ages have found their passion for the links as the game’s popularity continues to soar, with some returning to the sport after a lengthy hiatus, while others having only taken it up for the first time. In the latter category are junior golfers, whose presence on the course gives golf a bright future. With limitations on team sports and few alternatives to gather with friends, youngsters have turned to golf as a social and athletic outlet. These are ways you can introduce young kids to the game and keep them engaged with their newfound lifelong passion.
Play with Friends
It’s the summertime and school-aged children miss their friends. That’s a straight up fact. If your child is hesitant to head to the course, or wants to opt out and hang with pals playing Fortnite, why not meet him or her in the middle and invite their friends along. In all fairness, adults enjoy playing with their usual group of buddies, so it makes perfect sense why kids would want to experience the same camaraderie. It’s also a great opportunity to keep them connected with their social group in a safe and reliable setting, all while taking in a healthy dose of sunshine and fresh air.
Tee off at Off-Peak Hours
One of the major stressors parents experience when playing golf with their juniors who are just starting out is not maintaining pace and backing up groups. You want to get them on the course playing, but you also don’t want three groups glaring at you on the tee. If you’re seeking a relaxing outing with your child, one that can afford the opportunity to hit a few extra balls and teach him or her a few swing tips along the way, you’re far better off getting out for a weeknight nine than you are teeing it up during peak hours. Enjoy the long shadows, quiet dusk skies, and limited traffic on the course, all while getting your junior familiar with the game on the big stage.
Keep it Chill and Don’t Keep Score
All golfers get down on themselves after making a big number on a hole and subsequently ballooning their overall score. That said, juniors who are just getting their games off the ground are better off not focusing on the number of shots they take, but rather the number of laughs they have. When starting out, it’s a good idea to set the benchmark around consistency and learning rather than immediately quantifying shots by keeping a diligent score.
Make it Not All about Golf
Of course, you’re out there to play golf first and foremost, but courses provide much more to experience than simply 18 holes in the ground. When playing with your junior, try to incorporate other elements into the outing, such as appreciating the natural setting, watching for animals, hunting for golf balls(!) and, yes, enjoying a root beer float and a hotdog afterward. Put it this way, if you were introducing your child to swimming, you wouldn’t have them start in an Olympic pool doing laps, instead you would wade them into the shallow-end with a pair of floaty wings and a beach ball to keep things light and fun.
Tee it Forward, Really Forward
Tee decks are useful for tournaments and recreational golf, but if your child is just starting to play, there’s no point in having them play the course at 5,400 yards. Put a tee in the ground at the 200-yard marker and get them used to playing hole lengths that match their ability. If the goal is to have your child acquire an interest for the game, there’s no better way to do that than making it as appealing as possible.