How to Teach Kids Golf
As we near the summer school break, our thoughts turn to activities for children. Golf is a focus for many families, and golf lessons will make it fun, which is my number one priority when introducing kids to the game of golf.
How young is too young?
David Nevogt at GolfInstructionBlog.com recently asked, “How young is too young?” I agree with his response: “…. when the child expresses a desire to swing a golf club.” Even kids under 5 years can learn golf skills when the instruction is simple as well as activity based, rather than verbal.
At my golf school, we start Juniors off by helping them to get the ball in the hole. Approximately 75% of all shots occur within 100 yards of the green. Instead of focusing on hitting the ball far, get kids to master the short game first. Start with putting, which is easier to accomplish, and from which the students will see quicker results. Encourage children with lots of praise.
Play Games on the course
Games also help keep kids interested, for example:
- Best of Three: On the practice putting green, hit three balls each at the same hole. Closest to the hole gets five points, second-closest three, and third-closest one. Play three holes and add up the scores. Winner gets ice cream!
- Blind-Man’s Bluff: Have a (short) putting contest only… you putt with your eyes closed!
Move on to chipping next, and then short pitch shots. Have little contests where the kids aim at targets that you have set out, and whoever hits it closest, gets a little prize. Try to separate kids in a group clinic by age. This is a good way to get them to know one another and make friends quickly.
As they progress, give Juniors the chance to play some Par 3 courses – these fit their skill level, rewards them with scores of birdies, pars and bogeys, and keeps them feeling positive about themselves.
Teach Juniors the basic rules of golf and how to practice good golf etiquette. There are terrific videos available now that make these lessons easier to learn, and much more enjoyable than lectures or printed text.
With more accomplished Juniors, work with them on the mental side of golf in addition to the physical drills, and get them to play a lot of golf. Encourage them to play unsupervised golf also – no teachers, no adults, just kids being kids. This gives them the chance to try impossible shots, pretend to be Tiger Woods, and try to get home in two. They’ll just enjoy golf for what it is – a game.
Golf is a wonderful family sport, providing enough challenge to keep kids keenly involved for hours of quality family time. Keep it fun and rewarding, and your whole family will benefit.
At the Mel Sole Golf School, we have a Special Parent/Child Program that helps keep PGA golf instruction for your child affordable. Accompanied by an adult, 3-day golf school for Juniors under 18 is half price, or just $247.50. (Adults’ fee is $495.) Contact us for more details or Register Online Now.
Did You Know? July 9-15 is the annual “Take Your Daughter to the Course Week” (sons are welcome, too) sponsored by the National Golf Course Owners Association.