Teaching Kids Golf

By Lyle Smith
Kids and parents can bond over a simple game of golf.
Kids and parents can bond over a simple game of golf.

Teaching your kids to play any game can be one of the great memories of a lifetime. Teaching your kids to play a game you love, a game that can be played for a lifetime, can reward you with time spent with your kids for years to come. It is a common sight on golf courses around the world to see fathers, sons, daughters, mothers and grandparents teeing it up together.

Teaching Kids How to Play Golf

Make it fun. The No. 1 thing to keep in mind while teaching a child any game is to keep it fun. Kids learn and absorb and embrace the things they enjoy. Introducing a child to a game as inherently frustrating as golf with a high-pressure approach will likely backfire. It is best to focus on a few fundamentals right off the bat, then forget about score for a while. For younger kids, just think of it as chasing a little, white ball around. Cheer them getting the ball in the air. Let them cheer your shots, too. Enjoy the time you spend playing with your kids, and they'll let you know when they want to start taking the game seriously.

Teach the fundamentals. There are three basic fundamentals to teach any beginner: the grip—put their hands on the club and give them a solid understanding of a firm, neutral grip; straight left arm (or right arm if he or she is playing as a left-hander); and keep your eye on the ball.

After that, let your child start hitting balls to learn how to get the ball in the air. If you are an enthusiastic high-handicapper, you might want to get your beginner in for a lesson from a PGA professional to avoid developing bad habits—if the child decides to get serious about the game.

Teach proper etiquette. It's the first section in the Rules of Golf and teaches us all not just how to act on the golf course, but it gives us a good lesson on how to act with other people throughout our lives. Give a child a basic understanding of what it means to be away and how to treat your fellow players. Children will value it throughout their lives.

Be patient. Learning something new can be hard. Learning how to hit a golf ball well can be frustrating. Take your time. Let them learn in their own way and try not to take yourself too seriously. Children learn from example. If they see you having fun, they'll want to jump right in.

Start at the range. Two of the best ways to get your kids started in golf, particularly if they are very young, are the driving range and the mini-golf course. Teach them the basics of the game—whomever is farthest away goes first; stay out of the way of other players; every shot counts—by playing mini-golf. It's competitive and fun. Teach them the basics of the swing at the driving range. Learning to swing properly and hit the ball a good distance will catch their attention right away and get them ready to take their swing out to a real course when they are ready.

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