By Alexandra White
In addition to being a massive international sport that has also recently become a part of the Olympics, Golf is also well known for its popularity among senior citizens. It’s probably the most played sport by people over the age of 50.
With that in mind, it might seem a little strange to be suggesting that your kids should take it up. Why guide them towards an old man’s sport as opposed to one of the countless others that they could play instead?
Well, if you think about it, one of the primary reasons why golf is so popular with older people is because it’s not as physically demanding. You don’t have to have a lot of stamina, you can have basically any body type and you don’t need to be the strongest person either.
This makes it very accessible for someone whose body is starting to wear down, but it also makes it accessible for those who are still growing. Your kid doesn’t necessarily need to be an athlete to excel at golf.
And if you’d like to see them getting out into the sun more and exercising more, but they aren’t massively inclined towards a lot of physical exertion, then golf would be a good pick for them. It gets them out and gets them moving but it won’t be exhausting.
Here’s a few things to keep in mind when trying to get your kids into golf:
Start Slow & Short
Golf is always going to be a slow sport anyway, but what I mean by starting slow in this context is acknowledging that it will take time for your kids to develop their golfing skills. It’s completely new to them and it takes time and practice to build up their ability.
So be mindful of that. Don’t go into the first session with the mentality that they’ll have mastered their swing and understand how to most effectively perform on a specific hole. Instead, take a slower approach.
Start by teaching them the basics. Things like their grip and their stance, the fundamentals of their swing and maybe some early stage advice on how to analyze their surroundings and the layout.
And also, keep in mind that kids do tend to get bored and tired more quickly than adults. A full round of golf is a long process, usually taking about 4 hours to get through all 18 holes. Your kid won’t have the mental or physical stamina for that for a while.
Start out with shorter sessions and gradually build it up. If you try and throw them into the deep end with long games of gold right out the gate, they’re probably going to hate it.
Make it Fun
Golf should be an activity that your kids can look forward to, and not something that they should feel obligated to be a part of. Generally, children are more receptive to something if it’s fun, so you should keep that in mind.
As we’ve mentioned, this is typically a sport which is slow, quiet and methodical and might seem boring at first glance and in the earliest stages of practice. Find ways to teach your kids the more interesting aspects of golf in a fun way.
You can start out with crazy golf and let them pick up on the basics doing that. They’ll be able to practice their grip, stance and swing all while enjoying the colorful sights and creative holes on a crazy golf course.
You could also introduce them to golf video games and simulators. There are some kid-friendly ones out there which aim to make the experience fun while also teaching the player about the finer points of the game.
And try to get them to watch a little bit of it on TV too. Obviously not an entire game, unless they want to of course, but while relaxing on the couch is a good time to pick up some knowledge that could be helpful when they’re actually on the course.
Have the Best Equipment
Everyone has different needs when it comes to what kind of golfing equipment they need, and you really should make a point of getting some kid-specific stuff. It’s harder to come by because, of course, it’s more commonly played by adults, but it will be a richer experience.
First and foremost, a good club is essential. Years ago, people would just cut and modify adult golf clubs and give those to their kids, but that doesn’t really work. The size isn’t the only issue. Adult clubs are also too stiff and the heads are too heavy.
A kid needs a club that has a bit of a flex to it so that it’s easier to handle, it obviously needs to be lighter too and there needs to be a bit of loft to it which can help your child to get their ball airborne.
You should aim to get a custom club, and so you’ll need to measure your child. You’ll take into account height, weight, body type and what their current level of ability is. In addition to that, get them fitted for a good pair of golfing shoes, and buy some high quality balls.
Don’t be Pushy
Perhaps the most important thing for you to remember is that you don’t want to become one of those overbearing parents that pushes their kids into doing something that they don’t really enjoy.
Maybe there will come a time when your child wants to pursue golf as something more than just a hobby, but it’s unlikely, and it won’t be for a while. For now, you just want it to be something fun for them to do in their spare time.
If they’re struggling, don’t get angry or frustrated with them, take a helpful, nurturing approach. And if you start to get the impression that they’re not enjoying themselves and want to leave golf behind, that’s fine too.
It’s not for everyone, there is no sport that is. Let them look for something else to do instead. Golf is great because it’s outdoors and it’s good exercise, but there are other activities which can fill that void too.
So golf is a sport that has a tremendous amount of value in terms of keeping people active and healthy, and there is no reason why kids can’t enjoy it as much as adults can. If you take the right approach, you can get your kids into golf and they’ll have a sport they can practice and enjoy for years to come.