From the Rough by Matt Campbell - Matt Campbell, PGA Head Golf Professional- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Teaching Your Kids and Junior’s to Play Golf
This month I would like to talk about teaching your kids and fellow junior golfer the game of golf. I am often asked “what do you think is the best way for me to go for my child with the game of golf?” Of course all children are individuals and individuals learn and do things in many different ways. My response and suggestions will vary depending upon the individual involved but there are a few things that I believe will either make the game of golf a positive or negative experience for your child. The one thing that I will say is though, the first impression that your child receives will have a definite impact on the outcome of his or her experience with the game. Either they will be enthusiastic and want to play the game more or will have little or no interest and not want to play the game at all. I am not saying that the first impression is the only chance that you have with your children but I will say that it is extremely important when it comes to golf. I would like to list for some of the things that I would encourage and recommend that you do and will list for you some of the things that I discourage and do not recommend.
Here are some of the things that I would suggest and encourage that you do and are in no particular order:
· Make golf fun for them and something that they look forward to doing.
How do you do that?
i. Play with them. Show them that it is something you can do as a family and a way for you to get together.
ii. Make up games when you play and practice. Closest to the pin contest, putting contest, driving contest, and other games that come up along the way. Make the games fair for everyone involved. This will in turn keep them interested and give them the desire to perform.
iii. Encourage them on their good shots. Tell them not to worry about the bad shots. The good shots are the ones that you want to remember.
· Make sure that they have equipment that fits them. The most important factor is the length of the club that is in the juniors hands. I don’t recommend buying new clubs for juniors as they will grow out of them too fast. A used cut down club (s) will do just fine. (Unless of course you can afford a new set of clubs every six months). At Mount Si Golf Course, we have hundreds of clubs that are cut down at various lengths and are free to all juniors that come in and ask for one. Stop in the pro shop and ask our staff to find one that fits your child the next time you are out. When they grow out of them you just trade them in for a bigger club (s).
· Get your child into a group lesson or clinic. They will see other children learning and playing the game and how fun it can be. I think that you will find a group atmosphere is non-threatening and a great way for a child to learn to play the game. They generally don’t have the attention spans for private instruction and this is a great way to improve your child’s ability which in turn, will make them want to play the game more. The better we get at something, the more that we want to do it. Check with your local course on what programs are being offered. Mount Si has a junior golf program that runs all year long. (summer, spring, fall and winter) Call the pro shop or check out our website for details at www.mtsigolf.com.
· Take them out on the golf course. You don’t have to be “Tiger Woods” before you get out on the golf course. The more that you can take a child on the course, the more that they will see how important it is to practice. You can’t just tell a child the shots that they are going to have to learn to play golf. They are going to have to see for themselves. After a few rounds they will know what they need to practice and be enthused to do so. After all, what is the point of practicing if you can’t put it to the test? Mount Si Golf Course has twilight and early bird discounts that are designed for the junior golfer and their families to play. For more information on this call the pro shop or check the website at www.mtsigolf.com for what discounts and specials are being offered.
· Spend time with your child on and around the putting green. The more time you spend chipping and putting with your child, the better they will be. The game is about getting the ball in the hole. This is where you get that done. At least one half of your practice time should be spent on your short game.
Here are some things that I do not encourage or suggest that you do:
I don’t pretend to have all of the answers and this list is by no means the entire do’s and don’ts of golf. I do know that I am the parent of three children of ages 15, 11 and four and have taught the game to thousands of junior golfers over the last 16 years. I also know that this has been my basic approach during this time and it has proven to be successful. My goals have always been to make the game fun and enjoyable while at the same time educating the student to learn more about the game and more about themselves. If I can hear a junior or golfers say “I love the game of golf!” Well, that speaks for itself and that is ultimately what it is all about, isn’t it?
I would welcome your comments and or suggestions: