Although I have discussed the stigma often attached to golf as an “old man’s game”, it is important to realize the value that the sport has for players of all ages. Obviously professionals who dedicate their adolescence to training, see past (or at least have parents who see past) this misconception. Golf is a sport that all can benefit from whether they are learning their times tables in school or learning about capital gains tax from their retirement fund! Golf provides a physical outlet as well as a chance to exercise focus, discipline and meditation.
Golf is also a great game to share with your child. As is the case with any sport, kids may or may not like it at the beginning, but if you show them the value and the fun in it, they may change their minds. Once you know your youngster is onboard, you can approach teaching them about the game in a way that is beneficial for their development over time, but also interesting enough to hold their attention now.
- Let Them Play. This is important for children of all ages, but especially for younger kids. If you are too serious about the game and force them to go about learning in a very prescribed manner, it’s likely that the child will not enjoy him or herself. In the beginning, especially, it’s important that you allow room for play.
- Timing is Everything. Try taking your child to the course during off-times when it’s not too crowded. If you go at night during the week,it’s unlikely that you’ll face much in the way of competition so your child is free to take as much time he or she wants to play and explore. If you go at night, you’ll also have the advantage of tiring your little one out.
- Don’t Forget the Tools. Keep an eye on the equipment that your kids are using. Remember that their clubs will need to be shorter and lighter than an adult’s , and that even if the child uses junior equipment, it still may be too big. If the equipment is improperly sized, this can take a real toll on the child’s swing.
- Too Soon? As is the case in many sports, parents can often get overzealous when it comes to enrolling the child in lessons or on a team. With golf, I’d recommend that you wait until the child is five or six before teaching him or her the right way to swing and other fundamentals. Let your child play and explore with a plastic ball and bat beforehands.
- Be Nice. The quickest Way to ruin a child’s enjoyment of the game is too be too critical too soon. Speak in an encouraging way and try to refrain from being overly judgemental, instead, be positive. Along those lines, if you set up friendly competitions thatv involve rewards (think milkshake oer small toy), make sure you pay up immediately – no one likes delayed gratification…least of all, kids.
While there are many more tips on teaching kids the game, this is a great place to start. Good luck!