One of the keys to the success of Tiger Woods as a golfer is that growing up his father knew the system of golf and generously guided him through it. Now, if you have children and are thinking of introducing them to golf, you must be asking yourself: Where should I start? Who should I call? Should I purchase junior clubs or get a used set of adult ones that have been cut down to size?
Don’t get ahead of yourself! Relax!
Golf is not a pursuit that you can simply sign your kid up for at any leisure club. However, this sport becomes increasingly popular, and chances are that there are golf programs and clinics going on in your area. You may want to contact a local club pro, the YMCA, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, the golf association in your area, and other civic organizations. If you are from the United States, the National Minority Junior Golf Foundation, the United States Golf Association, the Professional Golf Association, and the Ladies Professional Golf Association may also know how to help you. Some of these organizations are, in fact, specifically involved in programs to introduce kids to golf.
Junior golf clinics are normally free to join; they are designed to introduce your child to the basics of golf, starting from how to grip a club, all the way to driving, chipping, and putting. Emphasis is placed on the rules of the game and golf etiquette. Clinics are also known to dole out golf apparel, balls, and sometimes golf clubs to participants. What is more, your child may be fortunate enough to receive instruction from a seasoned professional golfer in one of the clinics! The Black Enterprise/Pepsi Golf & Tennis Challenge junior clinic has featured Mark Nance, Kenny Simms, Todd Daniel, and Maria Mills in the past. And their message is: Golf is for everyone.
Of course, before forcing your children into playing the sport, you should take pains finding out how they truly feel about golf. After your child has been introduced to the game, you must make it a point to go to the field and observe whether hitting a few balls on the driving range brings a smile to his face. Ask yourself if you think the sport seems to be challenging and enjoyable to your kid? If yes, the real fun has surely begun.
To ensure that their kids learn the basics of golf properly, parents are usually advised to hook their children up with a golf instructor during the early stages of picking up the sport. If you’re having a hard time locating a good instructor, the local club pro should be able to provide you with a list of instructors in your area. If possible, watch a potential instructor with other students before signing up your kid. Observe whether the instructor gets along with the other kids, and ask yourself if he would fit in with your child’s personality. Proper instruction will surely increase your child’s confidence and decrease the frustration this mentally and physically challenging sport is sure to bring about. An instructor will also help you regarding the kind of equipment to buy for your child. Experts believe that a 7-iron, pitching wedge and a putter are all that are required for a beginner. At this point, you can hold off on the golf shoes and the designer clothes; tennis shoes and play clothes will normally suffice!
One disadvantage to being a junior golfer is that there are usually problems regarding a shortage of facilities. To ensure enough practice (aside from the hours your child spends with an instructor) you might want to ask the club pro whether there are any slow times during the week that your child can slip on the course to play two to three holes. Additionally, if there are par 3 courses in your area, you should think about sending your kid there. Keep in mind that the more your kid plays, the more comfortable he/ she will be with the game. And, once your child has learned the basics and is practicing regularly, the competitive juices will surely start to flow; that is when you should start inquiring about junior golf tournaments being held in your area.
As you might have guessed, introducing your kids to golf is not as simple as it sounds. Children need guidance and motivation, and if your child really enjoys the sport, you should make sure you’re there to give him/ her that. Good luck!