Tips for Parents of Junior Golfers
Is your son or daughter learning their way around a green? Presumably, you want to be the most encouraging parent possible. Where to start? The short game? Power drives? Nah, the single most essential aspect of teaching youngsters any sport is conveying the importance of focus, grace under pressure and good sportsmanship. Confidence is a skill for life, not just golf. Over the years, I’ve acquired a few tips for building both a strong mental, and physical, player…
- The most crucial thing to impart on young minds is that the game is fun. Not proper grip or stance. Furthermore, they won’t be having fun if you’re not, so make sure your own attitude is positive.
- Don’t get private lessons for your 3-year old. Let them determine their own level of enthusiasm. Under no circumstances do you want to be pressuring kids into a hobby, especially if it’s also your hobby.
- Ditch the professional verbiage. Lateral shift and effective loft might be important facets of the game, but not when you’re five. You down want to overwhelm the little guys.
- When your kids nails a good shot, say “Great shot!” When he hits a bad shot, exclaim, “Great swing!” Be the cheerleader, not the coach.
- Emphasize that competition doesn’t have to be grueling – especially if it’s against oneself. Keep track of progress with incentives, or just wager for milkshakes.
- Once your child hit a certain age, you might not be the best-suited for doling out tips. Advice can frequently sound like criticism coming from a parent.
- It’s not a bad idea to start out with miniature golf. It develops putting and, well, it’s built for kids.
- When it comes to the swing, it’s been said youngsters benefit from the ‘speed first, accuracy second’ development. Let them swing that club with all their might and dial it in later.
- Beware of clubs that are too heavy or too long. It could do more than impede their trajectory, they could actually injure themselves. Junior clubs have the flexibility needed to foster a swing.
- Slow down. Golf is not a speed game. All the waiting around in golf can bring out the hyperactive side of children – as soon as it’s their turn, they just want to blast off. Remaining calm is a cultivated skill.
- Many beginners want to swing the club like a baseball bat. Showing them the big, desired “U” shaped curve and getting their feet planted are good places to start without getting too technical.
- Scores aren’t important as health and fitness. Remember: fresh air, sunshine and physical exercise are the real benefits. Let them worry about handicaps later.
- If you’ve never noticed, kids love hitting balls into water hazards. They will grin from ear to ear as soon as they hear that splash. Why not waste a few dollars and give them a giggle, from time to time?
About the author: David Bryce is a long-time golfer and occasional freelance blogger. During the winter months, you can find him dreaming of green at his course-side cabin in Branson at Thousand Hills. He has taught a number of age ranges the finer points of golf and discovered that even toddlers hate sand-traps.