It’s important that golf is introduced in a fun and memorable way to ensure the initial association and connection is as powerful as possible.
As we know, golf can be a little intimidating, so here are a few ideas to make it more comfortable for your child.
To start, introduce him or her in a warm and relaxed setting with family members or a friend. Keep in mind that young girls often want to hang with other girls – the same is true for boys. Make the first session about trying to swing or putt. Invite your child to touch the clubs and get a basic feel for each one’s purpose.
Don’t make sessions too long; short and concentrated is preferred. It’s also better to leave on a high, so all memories are positive and there’s a desire to come back.
As a next step, introduce an instruction element – perhaps the grip or stance. Again, let it be playful. Encourage with statements like “it’s fun,” “don’t you love being outside,” etc. Also try to incorporate some cool games / competition into the experience. In other words, something that makes your child think about the result. For example, a closest-to-the-hole challenge or making three putts from a short distance.
Once your child has gone through these steps several times and most of the basics are introduced, then it’s time to visit the golf course. There’s no need to start by playing any more than three holes. You should tee off from the forward tees or even made-up tees in the fairway.
To maintain pace of play, pick up the ball after X amount of strokes. They should be allowed to move the ball out of trouble after a few tries, too.
Hopefully the joy is there, and your child wants to do it again. Positive reinforcement is acceptable, so feel free to give them an ice cream cone or favorite snack as a reward.
As golf is a social sport, you should also encourage practicing/playing with other youngsters.
Another aspect to gradually introduce is proper etiquette and general knowledge of rules so that both become natural over the long run. Furthermore, if your child wants to play in a tournament, please be sure to investigate local events with appropriate age groups.
Remember, each kid progresses at his or her own pace and desire. What’s most important is to enjoy the journey together – there is no better sport than golf for the family to participate in together!