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Getting Child into Golf

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

After many years of playing once or twice a summer, I finally took the headfirst plunge into golf this year. I love it for so many reasons. It's pretty much all I think about and want to do in my spare time. And I've improved a little. Then there is my son. He's 10 and not really into "ball" sports, probably because he's a little on the uncoordinated side and sports are really hard for him. A couple of weeks ago - on a whim - I took him to the local pitch and putt, so I could work on my shortgame. We had a blast. Probably for the first time ever, we enjoyed playing a sport together. We have a great relationship, but sports haven't really been a part of it. He uses a baseball grip and his swing mechanics aren't there (neither are mine, to be honest), but he can make solid forward contact on a regular basis and sometimes he gets the golf ball in the air for 20 yards or so.

 

Obviously, we're going to keep playing, but I have a few questions:

 

1. I don't want to burn him out with lessons and an emphasis on fundamentals, quite yet, since he's having fun just swinging away. Is this a mistake?

 

2. What is a better use of time, pitch & putt or letting him tag along with me on a "real"course? (I refuse to use a motorized cart and I'm not sure he wouldn't start complaining after a few holes)

 

3. Anybody have experience with 1st Tee? Does a participant need to come from a disadvantaged household? 

post #2 of 26
I'd be interested in hearing what folks have to say about this as well. I have an 8 year old daughter and a 10 year old son who seem to enjoy hitting balls at the range with me. I'd like to find a way to foster their enthusiasm in the game and for them to learn properly without being one of "those" parents (you know the ones, you see them at the driving range and/or sidelines at their kids events yelling at them everytime they make a mistake).

Personally, I think at these younger ages the most important thing is for them to have fun (regardless of the sport/activity). I try to make a day out of it with my kids, we start with a round of minature golf (because the love it) and then we'll hit the driving range. I always keep my comments positive and rarely give them instructions outside of maybe how they're lined up. We always finish up with some ice cream, etc. at the range (guaranteed way to make them want to keep coming back...haha). I've never taken them to a real course, but we did hit the local pitch and putt and that was a lot of fun.
post #3 of 26

my boy is about to turn two and i can't wait to get him out and play.  he swings around his plastic clubs(mainly hitting stuff with them) and when i pull out my clubs his eyes light up and wants to swing them around.  i think at first im going to just let him swing around and hit balls.  if he really wants to pursue it, i will be there.  if he doesn't like golf, well TOO BAD!!!  haha

post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 

For me, it's all about the enjoyment of seeing my son enjoy a sport, and one I love as well. He's also very interested in the etiquette aspect. The only instruction I give him is to set up with the clubface directly behind the ball and to try to align parallel to the target line. I'm in no position to offer any swing coaching.:-D

post #5 of 26

Three words, which I'm using as my motto regarding my daughter's involvement in golf until she's at least 14 years old:

 

Keep It Fun

post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandinmymouth View Post
 

After many years of playing once or twice a summer, I finally took the headfirst plunge into golf this year. I love it for so many reasons. It's pretty much all I think about and want to do in my spare time. And I've improved a little. Then there is my son. He's 10 and not really into "ball" sports, probably because he's a little on the uncoordinated side and sports are really hard for him. A couple of weeks ago - on a whim - I took him to the local pitch and putt, so I could work on my shortgame. We had a blast. Probably for the first time ever, we enjoyed playing a sport together. We have a great relationship, but sports haven't really been a part of it. He uses a baseball grip and his swing mechanics aren't there (neither are mine, to be honest), but he can make solid forward contact on a regular basis and sometimes he gets the golf ball in the air for 20 yards or so.

 

Obviously, we're going to keep playing, but I have a few questions:

 

1. I don't want to burn him out with lessons and an emphasis on fundamentals, quite yet, since he's having fun just swinging away. Is this a mistake?

 

2. What is a better use of time, pitch & putt or letting him tag along with me on a "real"course? (I refuse to use a motorized cart and I'm not sure he wouldn't start complaining after a few holes)

 

3. Anybody have experience with 1st Tee? Does a participant need to come from a disadvantaged household?

 

I would stick with the pitch and putt for now. It sounds like he is having fun with it and as long as you keep it fun, he'll probably continue to want to do it.

I would eventually let him walk with you while playing four holes or so, and let him tend the pin for you and putt a little. My Dad used to do that with me and my brother when we were little guys and we loved it.

post #7 of 26

The course I learned on as a pee-wee golfer is a very short par 3. I still go there to work on short game, it has really nice greens. Anyway I see little kids out there with their parents all the time. They always look like they are having a blast. Probably less about the golf that just being out doing something fun. Not uncommon to see one hit a roller just a few feet and jump up in excitement. A few are so twitterpated they race up and whack it again before dad can catch them. Many of the parents are just taking up the game as well.

post #8 of 26

Sign them up for intensive before and after school coaching during the week and all day sessions on Saturday, get the best pro you can afford and have him or her hyper-analyze every aspect of their swing.  Demand progress each and every day, with little reinforcement other than "You'll thank me when you're 30."

 

I kid, I kid (no pun intended).

 

Keep it light, keep it fun, and if you are dealing with younger kids, keep the outings short- you don't want them getting bored.

post #9 of 26
"3. Anybody have experience with 1st Tee? Does a participant need to come from a disadvantaged household? "


First tee participants do not have to be from a disadvantaged family.

However, if you are not from one, it would be nice to make a donation or two above the minimal fee they charge.

It's a great program.
post #10 of 26

I can't be arsed to read the responses, but here's my take...

 

I started playing golf around 8-10 years old. I had a great time, and loved it. I only got to go a couple times a summer, but I loved it. You need to find out just how much he enjoys it. Do the pitch and putt a few more times, if he shows a genuine interest in it, then get him on the big boy course. 

 

The good thing is, bad habits are easy to develop, but at that age they're also really easy to break. So I'd say let him have fun and learn on his own (or with you) for a bit, and if he gets to the point to where he wants to get better, THEN start some lessons.

post #11 of 26

My Son is still in the womb... But what I plan to do is just take him to the range and hit balls, roll putts on the practice putting green until he is around 5yrs old (perhaps older?).  So simply make it 45 min to 1hr of swinging the club just for fun.  Keyword, make it fun.  Then when he can at least make semi-consistent contact, take him out on the executive courses in the area.  And as he gets bigger and stronger, then move to the real course... All while ensuring he is having fun.  Make mini games out of it.

 

I learned to play with my Father by playing a shortish 9-hole course, and he would let me tee off, and hit shots.  If I missed or duffed it, he would have me pick it up and bring it up to his ball.  We would do this until I learned to manage my own game, and play the course.  It worked out pretty well.  And I didn't get my first golf lesson until I had played for a few years.  And my first lesson was mainly about golf etiquette, the proper grip, address posture, ball position and aim.  Very basic lesson which I'd recommend for any beginner.

post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the advice. Beachcomber: What do you define as an executive course? Since my golf time is not a commodity, I love the idea of letting him tee off and playing from my lies. Of course I'd have to get a cart. No way he walks for more than 4 holes. 

post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave2512 View Post
 

The course I learned on as a pee-wee golfer is a very short par 3. I still go there to work on short game, it has really nice greens. Anyway I see little kids out there with their parents all the time. They always look like they are having a blast. Probably less about the golf that just being out doing something fun. Not uncommon to see one hit a roller just a few feet and jump up in excitement. A few are so twitterpated they race up and whack it again before dad can catch them. Many of the parents are just taking up the game as well.

 

That's the scene at our local pitch and putt as well. Last time out, he was pissed that we didn't have time to go around a second time. It was Rosh HaShana and we were playing hooky from synagogue after a morning doctor's appointment. To say the wife wasn't pleased would be an understatement.

:mad:

post #14 of 26
When I was a kid, my dad and I used to do putting contests on putting green the range. Start at a random spot, putt to a hole. Winner gets to pick the next hole. Use 2 as "par." The numbers are small enough that it's easy to keep score along the way. That was always pretty fun, and putting doesn't take a big money or time commitment. Plus, there's not real "pressure" to teach mechanics. "Hit it softer, hit it harder" is about as far as you'll ever need to go.

We would also do closest to the pin stuff at the range. Once I got older, there was this par three course we used to play. No holes longer than 160 (most were around 115) so even a kid could dribble the ball up to the green in a few whacks, and the last two had water. I had a tendency to hit balls right in the water, so he'd light-heartedly taunt me once we stared getting close to those holes.

Anyway, that's what I'd do. Games, graduate to a par three course. Keep it light.
post #15 of 26

My son is now 12 and at 9 he expressed interest in golfing. So grinning ear to ear for his bday that year I got him a Jr Maxfli Rev set and of to the driving range. He absolutely loved it. I signed him and his step brother up for lessons that same summer. Don't scream yet at me just keep reading. It was group lesson with kids all ages up to 13 that has never golfed before. The instructor was perfect for the boys, he kept it fun yet a few instructional things here and there. It was at a local pitch and putt, that I would play well they had their hour lesson. They both loved playing and going to "lessons". They met some other kids the same age that enjoyed the game. We don't get out on the course much together but whenever THEY ask we go. If I go to the range they always get asked to go with. If they want to they do if not I don't get upset about it..... I know I will always have two life long golf partners.

post #16 of 26

I had my brother in-law staying with me and my family a little while back. He showed a bit of interest when I was talking about golf (self confessed golf nut I am). I took him out to the range a few times to have a hit and on one of these occasions I took my whole family (wife, daughter 10, son 7). Daughter was neither here or there. Son started getting into it. Brought him a second hand set for $50 and down the range we went. He loved it. Next time I was going to the range I said I was going to hit a few and before I could finish saying it my son was out of his set, shoes on and grabbing his clubs from the garage.

 

I say the best way to get them into it would be keep it fun and enjoyable. Don't push them into it.

 

If it is meant to happen then it will.

post #17 of 26

I kept it light and fun with my son starting at about 3 or 4.  The first thing I did was get one of the kids 9 irons with the grip that is molded to teach them how to hold the club.  A flag set from the golf store and pitching/chipping in the front yard to keep it fun.  Some foam balls for indoors and a heat vent putting hole to putt into .  Within a few months he was chipping foam balls over my head off the carpet and into the hole... it was funny to watch the balls check up as they landed with back spin. LOL 

 

I would also record "playing lessons with the pros" and he loved to watch that... The ones with a pro and 2 armatures playing a few holes.  The new format with one pro and one interviewer playing a few holes is quite boring.

 

He has loved the game from the start, now 9 years old  he is driving the ball 150 and has a great time playing. 

 

We did the first Tee a couple of times and he enjoyed it the first year, second year not so much. The on course time very limited compared to the classroom time and they gave homework!   He already knew how to conduct himself in and around the course,  was brought up to respect the game, course, and others.  We ended up putting him in golf camp this summer and he loved it but it was not cheap.

post #18 of 26

My youngest is 6 and she is absolutely dying to play golf! :)

 

My golf club has kids clinics on a Wednesday afternoon where one of the junior teaching staff will hold half hour classes and show them the basics. Some of the kids who go are very, VERY good! My daughter absolutely loves these classes!

 

The other thing is some times in the evening Ill go and play four or five holes just to get out on the course for a bit of practice. My daughter has started to tag along with me now too and as long as we are the only ones out Ill let her play up with me with her 7 iron, making sure to be very careful that she isnt just hacking away at the ball and that she is trying to hit the ball properly. Ive also seen another father out with his son so I know Im not the only one trying to get their kid in to the game.

 

Ive also started to work on her golfing etiquette too! The first time she came with me for a walk she would break out in laughter when ever I took a practice swing :) Now every time I miss hit the ball she puts that down as a practice swing :) 

 

Finally the ladies club captain has mentioned that another friend of hers runs proper clinics for children and that if Id like to get my daughter in to those that I just let her know and she will sort everything else out. So I think over the winter we will see how my daughter goes with her other clubs and if she is still keen next spring then we will get her more seriously in to the sport.

 

Regards

 

Mailman

 

ps. My daugther has also just started to sit down and watch golf on sky tv with me too (instead of watching Disney!!!) :)

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