With course closures and dwindling rounds, it’s imperative to find the next generation of golf enthusiasts. Spending four or more hours outdoors isn’t necessarily a high priority for today’s youth and the game of golf carries certain stigmas that may turn away a lot of younger players. So how can we instill a passion for golf in our children that will carry on for multiple generations as our parents did for us? Below we will look at some tips to help engage today’s youth and grow youth involvement in the sport we love.
Fun is Number One
The most important thing to do to keep kids engaged in the game of golf is to make it fun for them. While it is important to teach proper etiquette and respect for the course, it doesn’t mean your round with your kids has to be a stuffy experience. Inviting one or two of your children’s friends will help them correlate the game with fun and you may be able to get several young ones to catch the golf bug.
Another great way to keep things fun is to not play the course from tee to green. Massive par fives can be a daunting task for the beginning golfer, and even a lot of par threes can be unattainable for kids. Try playing holes from 100 yards out or so until confidence builds and slowly work back in yardage. Teaching kids to swing for the fences from day one isn’t the best way to improve their game so focusing on the short game and putting will help you find early success leading to a desire to return.
Find a Program
From the First Tee to your local courses junior golf schools, finding a solid program can be invaluable for getting your kids involved in the game of golf. Not only are these programs a great daycare option to keep your child busy and productive during the summer, but they’re extremely well-versed in keeping kids engaged in the sport. Most of these programs disguise important golf lessons as fun and exciting games, allowing the kids to do things on course that you typically couldn’t do in a normal round. Junior golf camps have long stuck with me as some of the best memories of my childhood, and no doubt played an important role in growing my love of golf.
As with any beginning golfer, it is important to build up confidence and limit criticism. Standing behind your child while they rake 500 range balls and tearing apart their every swing is not going to instill a love of the game. Imagine if Jim Furyk’s parents went that route. Keep things light early, and if over time they show a dedication to golf you can get more serious about the finer points of the golf swing. As culture and health concerns continue to impact most other sports, golf sticks out as a great alternative that any person can find success in without the risks associated with other activities. Next time you’re headed out to the course, grab your kid and a few of their friends, and you may help a new generation love the game of golf.
About the Author: Brian Neufeld
Brian Neufeld’s background includes more than 15 years of experience in golf course management, specializing in agronomy. Brian uses his knowledge of the game and best practices in turf sustention to create informative pieces for GolfTourney.com’s readers.