It’s no lie that everyone in the industry is trying to find ways to get more kids started playing golf. Not only do they need the next generation poised and ready to hit the fairways but also because these youngsters are really bringing exciting play – think young Jordan Spieth, Michelle Wie, or even Rickie Fowler. Golf thrives on ensuring the clubs are passed down from generation to generation.
…so, as I sit here thinking abut my own toddler daughter I wanted to share with you some ideas to help get your kids excited and interested in the sport you love! Honestly, we live where the sun is always shining. There is no better place than Southern California for growing up golf!
GETTING STARTED: There are a few schools of thought here but in my humble opinion, there is no “too soon” for getting clubs in your kid’s hands or introducing them to the game. A great introduction is the simple little plastic clubs. Let your kiddo wack it around the living room or back yard and simply pick up the concept of hitting a ball with a stick. I wouldn’t focus on perfecting the swing quite yet… it’s supposed to be fun. If you push lessons and perfection too soon then you’ve quickly made golf work. The anti-goal.
VISUAL LEARNING AT ITS FINEST: I’ll never forget growing up that Sundays meant golf in our household. I’d sit and watch with my mom and dad as if it was our religion. No cartoons. Just golf. You don’t have to get crazy here but it’s true… I credit most of my swing (which I’ve been told by pros that I’m a “natural”) to spending time watching the legends on TV but also by being out at the course and watching my parents. Both parents were quite good (dad a scratch and mom a 16 handicap) but they took the time to really introduce me to everything golf.
EMPHASIS ON FUN: Golf can be complicated, period. Kids don’t need a lecture, they need gentle guidance and praise. Make a fun bet for an after practice ice cream or maybe a fun little dime wager. Hold true to your promise and follow through on the reward! My dad used to make our driving range practice a pre-lunch routine and after a good solid 40 minutes or so we’d break and hit the club house grill for a burger and fries. Nothing better than a golf course burger!
YOU ARE A PARENT FIRST AND FOREMOST: Leave the whistle and whip at home especially if your kid starts to play competitive level golf. What kids need is a role model, a coach, and a parent. Let them find their own hero on the tour and try to find a way to get out and see him or her live. It’s an invaluable experience! (Not gonna lie, our daughter met Natalie Gulbis within five minutes of showing up to our first LPGA tournament and man was that cool!) Regarding the critical side of golf, be a cheerleader for your child. The age old saying of “if you have nothing nice to say then don’t say it at all” is very important.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING: So, what time is best to take your child out on the course for some practice? …late afternoon or early evening! Crowds are reduced and you won’t have to worry about being in the way of other players. Also, by making it a fun after school outing your kids will keep the excitement going. Don’t forget, the ultimate reward is getting out on the course so take advantage of it! A short four holes is enough for beginners! …and when out with family for a full nine holes, it’s okay to have your kid tee off from the 150 yard marker.
Just like you, I look forward to the day that I can have my daughter out on the course with me for a round. Of course we hope that she someday makes the LPGA but we’d simply love for her to enjoy the sport that is our number one hobby. The family time is special!
You don’t have to grow up golf to love golf but it helps!
What approaches have you used to get your kids excited about golf? Share in the comments below!