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!
I have a 14 year old boy in his second year with US Kids in the North Texas area.
Speaking for the boys 12 - 14 year olds, competition is generally tough. Lot of good players playing on US Kids tournaments.
But it can vary from tournament to tournament.
Generally speaking, shooting in the mid to low 80s will give you a chance at third place.
Although we have been to few tournament where the first, second and third place finishers shot in the 70s. But, we've also been to couple of tournaments where the top three players finished in the 80's and 90's.
My opinion is to wait until the child is at least 10 before playing in organized tournaments....that's just me.
That's been the opinion of my son's golf coach too.
He's not happy that my son plays in tournaments because he says they (the kids) get into the "put the ball in the hole at all costs" mindset and they are not receptive to learning new things.
It's a tough call. I think if you wait until they're 10, they're already so far behind that unless they're exceptional, they're going to struggle. On the other hand, kids who start out in a learning mindset probably end up better golfers over all.