So, you’re looking to get the kids into golf, but not sure how to go about it? We understand that getting the little ones invested can be quite challenging. Which is why we’ve asked Val Holland, coach at The Academy at Fancourt, to share some tips and advice for getting the kids into golf.
1. Leave out long, tedious time out on the course for now!
When trying to get kids into golf, you may want to reconsider your approach. Asking your child to follow you around the course for 5 hours, trying to play shots without initial coaching is not going to create an interest nor will it be fun for a youngster. Children have a low-attention span, so it needs to be fun, short and interactive, at least in the early stages of development. Once they’ve built an enjoyment for the sport then the playing can start, and a short course is always a great starting point – achievable goals are of utmost importance at this stage.
2. Keep it fun – with loads of praise
In the beginning, youngsters aren’t looking to become masters of the sport or go pro, even if you are harbouring secret hopes and dreams. They’re looking to find a sport that’s going to make them happy. So, for the first couple of sessions, keep it light-hearted, fun and concentrate on praising them and reassuring them that they are doing a great job. It’s alright to throw in a few tips now and then, but for the most part, let the mistakes slide. When they’ve developed an interest, that’s when you can take things to the next level.
3. Speak in their language
This is going to depend on their age. But a great tip for getting the kids into golf and to keep them interested, especially the little ones, is dropping all the fancy jargon. Speak their language, and this includes finding out who their favourite characters are or who their favourite sportsperson is and using these tools to relate to them, but also keep it enjoyable with “high fives” when they achieve . Nothing is going to frustrate a child more than being tossed into a big game, with big words, and no fun.
4. Exercise patience
Not every session is going to go perfectly, there will be tantrums, and there will no doubt be disagreements, and that has to be accepted and not challenged. You’re going to need to muster up that patience that you’ve learned over the years as a parent. Golf can be a frustrating sport on any day, but for kids, it’s a whole different ball game. When things go south, don’t underestimate the power of positive re-enforcement. Highlight and compliment their strong points and explain to them that in golf, there are good and bad days, and even the best of players have bad days.
5. Get them age-appropriate equipment
This is an absolute must. If you’re looking to get the kids into golf, proper equipment is going to make all the difference. Although tempting, try not to go for clubs that they can “grow into”. Learning proper technique is already a challenge for little ones and ill-fitting equipment is only going to make it that much harder. When choosing clubs, try to get them to hold specific positions, if they can’t do it, the clubs may be too long, short or heavy. Clubs are expensive so make sure and get advice from your PGA coaches before purchasing clubs.
6. Make success easy
Another great tip for getting your kids into golf is setting realistic goals. If you’re going to hold your child to the same standard as a normal player, they’re going to get discouraged. When playing golf with your youngster, it’s important to realise that merely hitting the ball is a big achievement. Lower the standard and put success within grasp. Even if that means changing the rules in the early stages of development or teeing off closer to the hole. With this, it’s going to be easier to succeed, which goes a long when you’re trying to get the kids interested in golf.
7. Bring your child to an event
Nothing is more inspiring than seeing the pros at work, and if your child can meet a few professional golfers, even better. Take them to an event, let them watch the game (nail-biting finishes on TV also do the trick), soak up the thrill, and slowly watch their passion ignite. Not to mention, all the family bonding opportunities up for grabs! Make it fun, get the popcorn out and make it a treat, and we all know kids love treats, it’s a winner in their world.