What parent wouldn’t want to enjoy a sport together with his or her kids? Golf, unlike many other sports, allows people of different ages and abilities to play together and all have a good time. But there are some things to keep in mind when introducing your children to golf, so that they have a good time, want to continue, and don’t cause a ruckus on the course.
1. Talk about the Rules of Golf and the etiquette of playing.
A huge part of golf is knowing the rather intricate rules and how to behave while you play. For a younger child, emphasize:
- No yelling on the golf course. You might surprise someone who is trying to make a good swing.
- Be ready to play when it is your turn. Many junior programs use “ready golf” — as in, whoever is ready to hit goes first. Otherwise, traditional etiquette says that the person furthest from the hole goes first.
- Stay safe. Never walk in front of someone who is hitting, and always yell “Fore!” if your ball is headed toward other people.
- Keep up with the group in front of you. If the group in front is more than a hole ahead, step up the pace. With kids, you may want to play “three times par” where you pick up once a child reaches, for example, 12 on a par-4 hole. You can drop the ball on the green and let them have a chance to putt.
Older children can learn more of the intricacies of the etiquette, like not walking between an opponent’s ball and the hole when on the green. Teach your older kids by letting them watch a golf event on TV or take them to a pro, college or even high school match so they can see the importance of playing by the rules.
2. Get some kids’ equipment.
Used sporting goods stores and online ads are great places to pick up used kids’ golf clubs. Children can’t play with clubs that are made for adults or older, bigger kids — they’ll learn bad swing habits from trying to handle too much weight. Thankfully, there are sources for inexpensive sets.
Your beginner child needs only a fairway wood, two to three irons and a putter. Don’t worry about getting a full set. You can get more elaborate equipment if and when your child shows an interest in continuing or playing in a junior golf program.
3. Pick the right course and tee time.
Don’t choose Saturday morning on a high-end course to introduce your children to the game. You’ll have frustrated people behind you because your kids will move slow. Instead, choose a weekday evening at a local golf course to take your child out for the first few times.
Starting your kids out slow and getting them involved in a good junior golf program can further pique their interest in golf. You can also talk to local golf courses, like The Pointe Golf Club, about what programs they have for kids.