us kids or ijga for my son
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So 5 weeks into our tour, I can now offer this advice.
I can't really speak for ijga, but I can compare US Kids Golf to The First Tee.
US Kids Golf is mostly about golf.
Kids learn the game, and they learn how to win and lose and how to deal with it.
The top 5 receive medals and if their scoring is good enough, they get an invitation to play at the next level.
At The First Tee, golf is secondary.
The kids learn life lessons and how to be good citizens while learning the basics of the game.
When I went to explore The First Tee for my son, I made the mistake of asking what kinds of scores kids in his age group were putting up. I was politely told that scores didn't matter, and that the program focused more on producing good citizens than good players. They also told me that they actively recruit executives from surrounding businesses to teach the kids both about golf, and about what they will need to succeed in their careers. It's a very impressive program!
While this is a fantastic program, I quickly learned that my son was too far advanced for it. At this point, he would probably lose interest if I made him sit in a classroom and learn things like making eye contact while shaking hands. He was already putting up scores that were getting him consistent third place finishes in his US Kids division, but he was getting frustrated and wanted better scores.
In my opinion, it's all about the kid's competitive nature. If your kid has that desire to compete and win, US Kids is the way to go. If your kid just wants to play a game while being social, The First Tee can't be beat.
For us, I found my son a USGA certified golf instructor that had time to teach him twice a week and build his game in US kids.
My daughter, on the other hand, will be joining The First Tee next season. She's far less competitive and enjoys the social aspect more.
I hope this helps. Keep those kids playing!