Written By Golf Town Ambassador Lisa “Longball” Vlooswyk
As a parent I have one job. My job is to raise a wonderful person that is kind, respectful, honest and if all goes well, hard working. Golf teaches all those values and more.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, many families have had extra time together with the cancelation of school and extracurricular activities and the future of summer team sport leagues being unclear.
As many families search for new and fun activities to engage in together outdoors this spring and summer, golf is the perfect choice! It is a fun game that can be played while you enjoy fresh air, sunshine and active living. It has a vast playing field, allows for easy social distancing, while still providing the challenge that the best games offer.
As fun as golf is, it also teaches and promotes important life lessons and skills.
Golf is a sport that you are to be your own referee. You are to call penalties on yourself. You learn the rules, and you follow them. You do not try to cheat or get away with something.
There are no short cuts in golf. You do not rely on luck or chance. It is not like riding a bicycle. You must practice and put the work in to become proficient. Arnold Palmer stated, “The more I practice the luckier I get”.
Golf is about respecting the rules, your playing partners and the course. You learn the etiquette of the game such as remaining silent when someone is hitting, ensuring you do not step in your playing partner’s line, to not move around when someone is hitting, waiting your turn and playing in order, fixing your ball mark and at least one other. You learn that at the end of the game, regardless of how intense the battle, you shake hands and always show good sportsmanship.
These are all valuable life lessons that lead to success on and off the course. These are lessons I want my son to know. That is one of the main reasons I introduced him to the game.
Golf is also an incredible family sport. Phones, devices and tablets are put away for the round. It is an opportunity to be active outdoors, in fresh air with the people you love most in life. As you walk down the fairways or walk up to the green, you are sharing stories, talking, chatting and laughing. You are making memories, and most importantly you are connecting.
If this is the year you decide to introduce your daughter and/or son to the game, here are some of my top tips to help them have a successful start:
1. Start Simple
Take them to the driving range with you and let them hit some balls or putt on the practice green. When they’re ready for the course, maybe start with an executive course or only play 9 holes. If they get tired, let them take a break and just enjoy going for a ride in the cart with you between holes. In one of my recent Virtual Golf Clinic’s, I shared tips, drills and resources to help get your juniors introduced to golf. You can watch it on Golf Town’s Facebook Page here.
2. Let them pick their shot
Help your child play well up the fairway and pick up when they want. Play best ball with them so they can hit from their tee box, and then pick Mom or Dad’s shot that they want to hit from next. It makes it a lot more fun and inclusive as a family!
3. Tee it up in the fairway
To help them get the ball in the air, let them tee it up in the fairway to make it easier for the club to get under the ball to get more distance.
4. Take lessons With a Pro
Take lessons with PGA of Canada Professionals. You want your child to have the best start possible and learn proper swing technique from the get-go. Golf lessons are one of the only coached sports that are currently allowed during Covid restrictions. It is the perfect time to learn!
5. Get Equipment that Fits
The worst thing you can do for your junior golfer is cut down adult clubs to fit their size. It makes the clubs extraordinary stiff and they are heavy, thus difficult to hit. Junior Golf clubs are very reasonably priced. Go to your local Golf Town and have the professional fitters help pick out a Junior set of clubs that fits your child. You can get everything from 3-piece starter sets with a bag to a set that is designed for teenagers.
6. Look the Part
A fun way to encourage your children to feel like a golfer is to buy actual golf apparel, versus just a collared shirt. There is a great selection of Junior Apparel at Golf Town to make your daughter or son feel like the LPGA and PGA Tour pros they watch on TV. In addition to Junior apparel make sure to check out Junior sized gloves, shoes and hats available in stores and online.
If your Junior Golfer is looking to take that next step and add a little competition to their game, Junior Golf Tours like the Canadian Junior Golf Association (CJGA) and the Maple Leaf Junior Tour (MJT) are hard at work with local courses and officials across the country on completing a schedule of events so your child can compete in a safe and fun environment. You can visit the CJGA website at https://cjga.com and the MJT at https://www.maplejt.com for more information or check in with your local course to see if they are working with a local tour this summer.
I hope these tips help you and your junior golfers and I look forward to seeing you and your family out on the links. I guarantee you won’t be able to stop smiling!
Lisa “Longball” Vlooswyk is an 8-time Canadian Long Drive Champion for Women and Golf Town Brand Ambassador. She is a Keynote Speaker, Golf Entertainer, runs a Golf School for Women and teaches Ladies Clinics at Golf Town locations across Canada. Lisa can be reached through her website www.lisalongball.com or through Twitter @LisaLongball