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Fatherly Golf Advice?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

My first child comes into the world in a few months...having a boy! c5_banana.gif

 

I'd like to hear any and all tips that you guys/gals have. I may be looking quite a ways ahead but my father in law and I have already been keeping our eye open for mini clubs. I'm a pretty relaxed guy, I'll never push him into something he doesn't like....if he wants to eventually get into wrestling, hockey, or hell...ballet...that's fine...maybe.

 

But what youngin' doesn't like swinging a stick at a ball?

 

What would you do to keep the experience enjoyable at a young age? 

 

When to get his first golf lessons? etc..

 

Anything and everything, I'd love to hear it! 

post #2 of 18

My Grandpa brought a putter to the delivery room when I was born. It's an old Bullseye with a 37" shaft (still too long for me, and likely always will be) but he didn't actually push the game on me. He would just take me with him when he'd go out to practice for half an hour and give me a putter and a ball, then set me loose upon the greens. He'd occasionally bring a small wedge with him and let me use that as well, just telling me to pretend I was putting the ball with it.

Beyond that, he would give me a certificate entitling me to a local junior golf program for my birthdays. The instructor was (and still is) very beginner friendly and gives simple advice to younger kids such as always teeing up the ball or making smaller swings. He also made it fun by setting up range baskets out about 15' away and giving you a quarter for each time you knocked one over.

My grandpa kept it fun for me with games. He'd put a leaf on the green with a quarter underneath it and tell me I could keep the quarter if I got my putt to stop on top of the leaf from a distance away (5' at first, then got further). We'd have competitions to see who could chip it the closest from around the green, and he'd get me an ice cream cone afterwords if I managed to get it closer than him.

When we played he had me start by teeing off at the 100 yard marker. The rules were that after 6 shots you would just pick it up and set it on the green. You then had 4 putts to try and get it in the hole. Once I started getting it on the green consistently in 2 or 3 shots, he moved me back to the 150 marker, then the 200 after that. We played a fairly small 9 hole course with plenty of shade, which meant that once I got past the 200 yard marker I would play from the red tees. 

I remember my biggest goal, once I moved back to the red tees, was to beat my grandpa. The first time I did it, I remember telling everyone who was in the clubhouse when we got back in since I was still only 7 or 8 (shot a 54 to his 55). All the while I would take the occasional lesson from the same instructor who did the junior golf program. The biggest part of that was that, while I learned the basic fundamentals, the pro wouldn't give me too much to think about at any one time. He'd give me something like "try gripping it this way" or "try changing this one thing" at the end of a lesson to practice with until the next lesson I'd take a couple months later.

I used 3 different sets of golf clubs before I bought my current regular set. Two AMF kids sets (probably $100-200 each) that he had a friend cut down at first, then add plugs in later. Lastly, he got me a somewhat nicer set before my current clubs with a Callaway junior golf set ($300ish) that lasted me from 7-12. That was when I was first introduced to a "driver" with 17* of loft. Every set before had only up to a "3-wood" of 24* to help me hit the ball in the air easier. This was a big help and confidence booster for me.

He never pushed me to play golf, but would ask if I wanted to come with whenever he would play. I'd always jump at the chance to be with my grandpa, especially since he would take us in his old 280z convertible in the summer. Most of all, he just made the game a lot of fun for me to play.

The summer after my 8th grade year was when he took me out to look at my current irons (Eye 2's). He had told me that I could play for the high school team if I wanted, possibly earning a scholarship, and that he would help me with a new set of clubs if I would try my best. We got the Eye 2's and put in GS95 shafts since they were lightweight ($150 total there). We went to a nearby Golfsmith and managed to get a deal trading my old clubs in, getting a G10 3-wood and Driver for $200 with ProLaunch Red shafts in them (I think the current model was G20's or something, so they were on sale). Finally, on a trip to Michigan that summer, we saw G10 18*, 21*, and 24* hybrids on sale used for $30 each. I paid him back by doing weedeating, lawnmowing etc. around his home for the summer. After saving up I managed to get myself some Ping Tour-S wedges that I liked the look of, and still just used my old putter.

After all that, I was given a local public golf course junior membership for my birthday from my parents, which allowed me to play at a discounted rate, and I went to practice often. I would still make games out of it, and made friends with the head pro's son. I got a lot of free golf and range balls hanging out with him, not to mention cheesy fries at the clubhouse! I soon started taking lessons from a different pro than before, who really helped me start to understand the golf swing more than I did before. After playing in summer tournaments and two years of high school golf, I ended up where I'm at. I still love to play and will try to go out as often as I can. I got a job at the golf course through the pro I take lessons from and can golf or hit range balls for free at all of the city courses because of it.

 

Anyways, long story short, just try to keep it fun and make it all about different games. Just keep in mind that a quarter, ice cream cone, or candy bar can turn an otherwise boring drill into a fun competition when practicing and always phrase it so that you're asking if he wants to come play with you on the golf course. Doing that should at least get you a lifelong golf partner, which I know was my Grandpa's original intention.

post #3 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pretzel View Post

My Grandpa brought a putter to the delivery room when I was born. It's an old Bullseye with a 37" shaft (still too long for me, and likely always will be) but he didn't actually push the game on me. He would just take.....

Great post!

post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RaulR View Post

Great post!

Indeed! Lots of good ideas in there. Your grandpa sounds like the best!

post #5 of 18

Wow...your grandad really went about it in the right way. I'm sure he treasured all of that time he spent with you. Golf sure is something that two people can do together more so than most other sports. Especially people from different generations.

post #6 of 18
My dad took me to the range when I was 11 or so. He gave me a 7 iron, showed me the interlock grip and gave me a bucket of balls. I had watched him, and watched some golf on TV, so I had the general idea. He never told me to "keep my head down, left arm straight, etc..." I was a pretty decent athlete with good hand eye coordination and didn't have the attention span of a flea, either. After a few go's I was hitting that 7 iron out to about 130... when I actually hit it. I would go with him to the course and stay on the range while he went out to play 9 with his friends. 2 months of just 7 irons, then moved to a 5 wood for a few weeks along with the 7 iron. All summer just hitting balls at the range and practice putting at home on the carpet. Set up a range in the yard for the wiffle balls and would practice with the driver and the other clubs. Did that over the winter when it wasn't too cold to be in the yard for hours at a time. The following spring I asked to go to a junior clinic at the local muni that was free. An hour of some instructions once a week for 6 weeks in the basics, rules, etiquette, etc... then 4 or 5 holes of instructional play with a review when we were done. I "passed" and was able to play that course without an adult if I wanted. (usually, it was 16 yo, I was now 12)
My dad took me out for my first round on a Saturday afternoon when the course wasn't crowded and played 18.... He "says" it didn't bother him and that he was proud that I beat him on my first go. I shot a 96 to his 102- which was probably not his best effort, he usually could break 100 regularly. I never did think he bagged it, either. 30 years later we got to talking and he told me, he was pretty pissed that I beat him, but also, he WAS proud of what I had done. So since that day, until he gave up the game, he never beat me again (at golf- got my ass kicked for other stupid things). He tied me once or twice on a 9, but never overall. I was NEVER pushed at it, and never felt any pressure to please him, either. I liked it and spent time to get better on my own. Didn't even realize how good I did become, since I never even tried out for the HS golf team, I never knew that I probably would have been the #2 or 3 player until after I graduated. I didn't even check the HS scores in the paper or paid attention to any of the bulletins that the school put out. When I graduated I was shooting 38/40 for 9, and the weekly match winners were right around that number. I might not have won a lot, but would have at least contributed.
If he/she show interest, let them HAVE FUN until that time THEY decide how they want to continue.
post #7 of 18

my dad used to drag me along when I was 6. ( used to bribe me with a coke lol) I started hitting a few here and there. I ended up being a pretty good high school player and got a part time job on the grounds crew. I am now 47 and  completed my 15th year as a superintendent. Who would have thought that by bribing me with a coke would end up shaping my life and career. My dad passed away 2.5 years ago at the age of 85 and still played 9 holes 2 or 3 times a week walking up intill 6 months before his death . 

post #8 of 18

First of all, make it fun. Show them that golf courses are fun places.... sometimes just go out and see where the rabbits and ground hogs live.

 

For starters, try putting. Make little games out of it. When the child can run, bring in a 7i for a little chipping.

 

Also, talk to your pediatrician. Although the PGA tour ads show the current stars swinging away as toddlers, don't overdo this. A 4-year-old who is whipping his back through dozens of full shots a day could end up with spinal trouble.

 

One of golf's big challenges is that it requires an fairly good attention span. So, complex individual lessons for 7-year-olds may tax the child's cognitive capabilities at that age. Remember, keep it fun!

post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 

Awesome advice everyone! I like the stories too!

post #10 of 18

I hate to tell you this but, if he's due in 2 months and you're still looking for that club, you are already falling behind.  Tiger started working on his grip when his mother was only 4 months pregnant with him.  His father would stand there and hold a 7iron up to his mother's belly.  By the time Tiger was born, he was making 5 footers almost automatically.  You have to learn golf at a really, really young age so the mechanics become ingrained. 

 

Like an idiot, I waited until my daughter was born to start working with her.  Even with marathon range sessions . .we just couldn't catch up.  She's almost 3 now and, honestly, she's terrible at golf.  She has no real drive or passion for the game .. but, more than that, she is fumbly with her swing.  Half the time, she doesn't even line up to the ball correctly - instead aiming 180 or more degrees away from her target.  Sometimes she hits the ball on her backswing.  We go over swing videos for hours but I don't think she's even paying attention.  Basically, it's a mess. 

 

ok - actually - she does have a little golf club and we sometimes go out in the backyard and play "golf" . ."like Tiger Woods".  I just let her do whatever she wants with it . .I don't try to teach her anything at this point.  Sometimes she tries to hit it a few times, sometimes she just waves the club around, sometimes she throws her golf ball in the pool.   I have demonstrated chip shots a few times and stood behind her, guided her club and helped her hit the ball a couple of times.  She understands the basic concept of golf - whenever a put lips out on tv she shouts "Didn't go in the hole! You have to try again!". 

 

If she shows any interest when she gets older I'll definitely take her to the range and course . .and help her get involved with school golf programs or lessons or whatever. 

 

My 2 month old son, though, is a different story.  He is out in the garage right now hitting 3 woods into the net and *somebody* is not getting his diaper changed until Daddy sees some progress!

post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pretzel View Post

My Grandpa brought a putter to the delivery room when I was born. It's an old Bullseye with a 37" shaft (still too long for me, and likely always will be) but he didn't actually push the game on me. He would just take me with him when he'd go out to practice for half an hour and give me a putter and a ball, then set me loose upon the greens. He'd occasionally bring a small wedge with him and let me use that as well, just telling me to pretend I was putting the ball with it.

Beyond that, he would give me a certificate entitling me to a local junior golf program for my birthdays. The instructor was (and still is) very beginner friendly and gives simple advice to younger kids such as always teeing up the ball or making smaller swings. He also made it fun by setting up range baskets out about 15' away and giving you a quarter for each time you knocked one over.

My grandpa kept it fun for me with games. He'd put a leaf on the green with a quarter underneath it and tell me I could keep the quarter if I got my putt to stop on top of the leaf from a distance away (5' at first, then got further). We'd have competitions to see who could chip it the closest from around the green, and he'd get me an ice cream cone afterwords if I managed to get it closer than him.

When we played he had me start by teeing off at the 100 yard marker. The rules were that after 6 shots you would just pick it up and set it on the green. You then had 4 putts to try and get it in the hole. Once I started getting it on the green consistently in 2 or 3 shots, he moved me back to the 150 marker, then the 200 after that. We played a fairly small 9 hole course with plenty of shade, which meant that once I got past the 200 yard marker I would play from the red tees. 

I remember my biggest goal, once I moved back to the red tees, was to beat my grandpa. The first time I did it, I remember telling everyone who was in the clubhouse when we got back in since I was still only 7 or 8 (shot a 54 to his 55). All the while I would take the occasional lesson from the same instructor who did the junior golf program. The biggest part of that was that, while I learned the basic fundamentals, the pro wouldn't give me too much to think about at any one time. He'd give me something like "try gripping it this way" or "try changing this one thing" at the end of a lesson to practice with until the next lesson I'd take a couple months later.

I used 3 different sets of golf clubs before I bought my current regular set. Two AMF kids sets (probably $100-200 each) that he had a friend cut down at first, then add plugs in later. Lastly, he got me a somewhat nicer set before my current clubs with a Callaway junior golf set ($300ish) that lasted me from 7-12. That was when I was first introduced to a "driver" with 17* of loft. Every set before had only up to a "3-wood" of 24* to help me hit the ball in the air easier. This was a big help and confidence booster for me.

He never pushed me to play golf, but would ask if I wanted to come with whenever he would play. I'd always jump at the chance to be with my grandpa, especially since he would take us in his old 280z convertible in the summer. Most of all, he just made the game a lot of fun for me to play.

The summer after my 8th grade year was when he took me out to look at my current irons (Eye 2's). He had told me that I could play for the high school team if I wanted, possibly earning a scholarship, and that he would help me with a new set of clubs if I would try my best. We got the Eye 2's and put in GS95 shafts since they were lightweight ($150 total there). We went to a nearby Golfsmith and managed to get a deal trading my old clubs in, getting a G10 3-wood and Driver for $200 with ProLaunch Red shafts in them (I think the current model was G20's or something, so they were on sale). Finally, on a trip to Michigan that summer, we saw G10 18*, 21*, and 24* hybrids on sale used for $30 each. I paid him back by doing weedeating, lawnmowing etc. around his home for the summer. After saving up I managed to get myself some Ping Tour-S wedges that I liked the look of, and still just used my old putter.

After all that, I was given a local public golf course junior membership for my birthday from my parents, which allowed me to play at a discounted rate, and I went to practice often. I would still make games out of it, and made friends with the head pro's son. I got a lot of free golf and range balls hanging out with him, not to mention cheesy fries at the clubhouse! I soon started taking lessons from a different pro than before, who really helped me start to understand the golf swing more than I did before. After playing in summer tournaments and two years of high school golf, I ended up where I'm at. I still love to play and will try to go out as often as I can. I got a job at the golf course through the pro I take lessons from and can golf or hit range balls for free at all of the city courses because of it.

 

Anyways, long story short, just try to keep it fun and make it all about different games. Just keep in mind that a quarter, ice cream cone, or candy bar can turn an otherwise boring drill into a fun competition when practicing and always phrase it so that you're asking if he wants to come play with you on the golf course. Doing that should at least get you a lifelong golf partner, which I know was my Grandpa's original intention.

Too late!  Haha.  Just teasing.  Loving your contributions so far!

 

To the OP Crim, my boy is five.  I let him start swinging a club about two.  He likes playing and always wants to come with, but I would not say he is passionate about it.  The best fatherly advice I can give is if he as passionate about it go for it, if he just likes it and it is fun, just let him have fun and do it at his own pace.

post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmazingWhacker View Post
Like an idiot, I waited until my daughter was born to start working with her.  Even with marathon range sessions . .we just couldn't catch up.  She's almost 3 now and, honestly, she's terrible at golf.  She has no real drive or passion for the game .. but, more than that, she is fumbly with her swing.  Half the time, she doesn't even line up to the ball correctly - instead aiming 180 or more degrees away from her target.  Sometimes she hits the ball on her backswing.  We go over swing videos for hours but I don't think she's even paying attention.  Basically, it's a mess. 

I have to say that this image in my head was funnier than it probably should have been. I imagined you going over the 5SK videos or huge analyses of professional swings, then scolding her when she tries to draw a unicorn instead of taking notes on a large notepad.

"But daddy, I want to go outside"

"Not until you can tell me the importance of a flat left wrist!"

post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pretzel View Post

I have to say that this image in my head was funnier than it probably should have been. I imagined you going over the 5SK videos or huge analyses of professional swings, then scolding her when she tries to draw a unicorn instead of taking notes on a large notepad.

"But daddy, I want to go outside"

"Not until you can tell me the importance of a flat left wrist!"

 

That's pretty acurate except she really can't draw yet . . .she mostly just scribbles.  She likes to wave the notepad over her head, then hold it out to me and say "I have a notepad!". 

post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmazingWhacker View Post

I hate to tell you this but, if he's due in 2 months and you're still looking for that club, you are already falling behind.  Tiger started working on his grip when his mother was only 4 months pregnant with him.  His father would stand there and hold a 7iron up to his mother's belly.  By the time Tiger was born, he was making 5 footers almost automatically.  You have to learn golf at a really, really young age so the mechanics become ingrained. 

 

Like an idiot, I waited until my daughter was born to start working with her.  Even with marathon range sessions . .we just couldn't catch up.  She's almost 3 now and, honestly, she's terrible at golf.  She has no real drive or passion for the game .. but, more than that, she is fumbly with her swing.  Half the time, she doesn't even line up to the ball correctly - instead aiming 180 or more degrees away from her target.  Sometimes she hits the ball on her backswing.  We go over swing videos for hours but I don't think she's even paying attention.  Basically, it's a mess. 

 

ok - actually - she does have a little golf club and we sometimes go out in the backyard and play "golf" . ."like Tiger Woods".  I just let her do whatever she wants with it . .I don't try to teach her anything at this point.  Sometimes she tries to hit it a few times, sometimes she just waves the club around, sometimes she throws her golf ball in the pool.   I have demonstrated chip shots a few times and stood behind her, guided her club and helped her hit the ball a couple of times.  She understands the basic concept of golf - whenever a put lips out on tv she shouts "Didn't go in the hole! You have to try again!". 

 

If she shows any interest when she gets older I'll definitely take her to the range and course . .and help her get involved with school golf programs or lessons or whatever. 

 

My 2 month old son, though, is a different story.  He is out in the garage right now hitting 3 woods into the net and *somebody* is not getting his diaper changed until Daddy sees some progress!

hahahahahahahahahahahaahahahah!!!!!

post #15 of 18
Congrats on your first child, you're in for a great adventure!

I have two daughters, 4.5 yrs and 19 mnths. I'm hopin they both get into, but we'll see. At this point, our main focus is to just get them involved in a variety of sports, let them learn to be athletic and active.

The older one enjoys hitting balls into a net down in the basement, or going to a putting green, but only for about 5 mins and then she wants to run wild. So I don't really push it... The only thing I've taught her is a reasonable grip, and I just encourage her and let her have fun.

The younger one has a $5 plastic set, and she loves to hit stuff with it, so I let her enjoy just swinging a club around (of course Mom doesn't like it, since its usually in the house haha).

I'm really excited for next weekend. A friend of mine also has a 4 year old daughter, and we are taking them both out to a Par 3 course, let them whack a few balls and just have a fun day. Fingers crossed!
post #16 of 18

Great stories.  And cracked up at AmazingWhacker.

post #17 of 18

my son is almost 2 and we have one of those plastic sets for him.  he likes to beat the hell out of people with them.

post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmazingWhacker View Post

I hate to tell you this but, if he's due in 2 months and you're still looking for that club, you are already falling behind.  Tiger started working on his grip when his mother was only 4 months pregnant with him.  His father would stand there and hold a 7iron up to his mother's belly.  By the time Tiger was born, he was making 5 footers almost automatically.  You have to learn golf at a really, really young age so the mechanics become ingrained. 

 

Like an idiot, I waited until my daughter was born to start working with her.  Even with marathon range sessions . .we just couldn't catch up.  She's almost 3 now and, honestly, she's terrible at golf.  She has no real drive or passion for the game .. but, more than that, she is fumbly with her swing.  Half the time, she doesn't even line up to the ball correctly - instead aiming 180 or more degrees away from her target.  Sometimes she hits the ball on her backswing.  We go over swing videos for hours but I don't think she's even paying attention.  Basically, it's a mess. 

 

ok - actually - she does have a little golf club and we sometimes go out in the backyard and play "golf" . ."like Tiger Woods".  I just let her do whatever she wants with it . .I don't try to teach her anything at this point.  Sometimes she tries to hit it a few times, sometimes she just waves the club around, sometimes she throws her golf ball in the pool.   I have demonstrated chip shots a few times and stood behind her, guided her club and helped her hit the ball a couple of times.  She understands the basic concept of golf - whenever a put lips out on tv she shouts "Didn't go in the hole! You have to try again!". 

 

If she shows any interest when she gets older I'll definitely take her to the range and course . .and help her get involved with school golf programs or lessons or whatever. 

 

My 2 month old son, though, is a different story.  He is out in the garage right now hitting 3 woods into the net and *somebody* is not getting his diaper changed until Daddy sees some progress!


LOL

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