Golf for Kids: What You Should Know & How to Get Started
Maybe you caught Matthew Wolff’s dramatic 72nd hole eagle to win the inaugural 3M Open in Minnesota. Wolff had not even been a professional for one month before joining an exclusive club of golfers (Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth are members) who weren’t able to celebrate their first PGA victories with a legal adult beverage. Wolff was born in 1999, but it won’t be long before the PGA has its first champion born in the 21st century.
Introducing Kids to Golf
Matthew Wolff is an instructive case in getting kids started in golf. The Wolff swing is unlike anything yet seen on a professional golf tour. Wolff’s talent was clearly not inhibited by any instructor teaching “the right way to swing a golf club.” It’s important to keep in mind as your child is starting off, there are many ways to get the job done with a golf swing. When it’s time for a youngster to pick up their first golf club, let them swing in a way that seems natural.
And after you introduce a child to the concept of golf, provide minimal instruction on how to hold the golf club and retreat from the course to observe. If the neophyte swinger gives up after a few swings, consider re-introducing the game at a later age. If the child takes to activity with gusto, gradually provide pointers on the finer points of golf without dampening that initial enthusiasm. This will help parents guide their kids into learning strategy, without bombarding them with rules.
Best Kids Golf Clubs & Why
Back in the dark ages, the time-honored way of introducing young golfers to the game was cutting down shafts on old clubs to match the pint-size novices. These clubs would often be too heavy and unbalanced – which bred poor and long-lasting swing habits. These days, clubs are specifically manufactured for children, for even as young as three years old. Junior golf clubs are weighted to match shorter shaft lengths and feature grips tailored for smaller hands.
Introducing the putter as their first club may help them develop their skills early on. One way to gauge a child’s potential interest in the game is to spend time on miniature golf courses. Putting is not only a building block to learning, but it is also a chance for the child to beat mom and dad at the game right from the beginning
An actual golf course should be a long way off for a child just picking up their first clubs. Whether in the back yard with practice foam golf balls or perforated golf balls, always tee the shots up for your youngster until they become consistent in making contact.
The main goal of your child’s first swings is to get the experience of hitting the ball into the air. As they develop an interest in golf, invent games around the chipping green. This will help familiarize them with the playing of the game and the idea of keeping score. As each of these lessons takes hold, the allure of a real golf course grows.
Keep the Game Fun
Remember, it is best to end any golf session with your child as soon as you sense interest lagging. In the early stages of a young golfer’s life, the only reason to be playing is fun.
If you’ve managed to keep your child’s interest, soon enough the big day will arrive when you can head to a course and play their first official round. Look for a par-three or full-size golf course that embraces “family-friendly” features such as forward tees and blocks of starting times for beginners. If all goes well you will have started your child on the game of a lifetime.