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Chris Stewart

Taking My Son Out for His First 9 Holes Tomorrow

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My oldest, 12 years old, has shown interest in golf and by doing so has gotten me back into the game from a 6-7 year absence.  We've hit the range a few times and I think he's in a good enough place to go out and play 9 holes.  Tomorrow we're going to head out to do just that.  To this point, I've mostly kept him to a 7-8 iron.  He's hit the driver a few times, mostly for giggles as this is for fun after all.  My thought process was to try and simplify the game as much as possible for him.  Focus on fun, 1-2 clubs, half swings, etc, just to give him a better chance at having a good time.  That got me to thinking, is that the right approach?  I'm sure many of you have been right where I am right now.  I'm curious, how did you handle it and what were the results?  Would you do anything differently?  Frankly, I just want him to have fun and not be overwhelmed.  That's the goal.

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Tee up the ball for all shots. No fun topping the ball five times in a row, assuming that he would as most rank beginners do. I do it for my 11 y/o. He has been playing on and off since he was 6.  

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Our Junior golf program has kids start with 5 hole rounds at the 2 hundred yard marker, except Par 3's
When I would take my grandson, I would hit a tee shot and drive up to the marker and let him tee it up.
When he would duff two in a row, I'd have him pick it up and drive forward and try again.

Having him hit shots off of a tee is a good idea when first starting.
They will have less tendency to chop down on the ball when on the ground and tend to learn to sweep it off a tee.

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43 minutes ago, Chris Stewart said:

Focus on fun, 1-2 clubs, half swings, etc, just to give him a better chance at having a good time. 

Let ‘em have at it. Hell people who have played for years can’t do a half swing when asked. Just let him swing at it. He’s 12 and made of rubber.😃

Edited by Vinsk

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3 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

Let ‘em have at it. Hell people who have played for years can’t do a half swing when asked. Just let him swing at it. He’s 12 and made of rubber.😃

So the medical profession is saying we're made of rubber???  😉  (Well, they should make hosels made of rubber, or foam, or any deadening material)

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Start him at an executive course but only after he can consistently get 8 out of 10 shots airborne off the turf at the driving range that travel at least 100 yards.

Pick up and march it to the green for a putt or two if he hasn't reached in regulation plus 2. So on a par 3 that would be 3 topped balls and then pick it up. Unless the course is empty.

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That sounds awesome, enjoy.  I don't have any advice to add, I just want to say this is awesome. 

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If he takes the game up, start mentally preparing yourself for the first time he beats you.......

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Check out Operation 36. It aims to teach the game from the green to the tee. A golfer starts at 25 yards and once they shoot 36 or better over 9 holes they move back to 50 yds., then 100, then 150, then 200 all the way back to full tee length. My wife is considering playing golf, and I will use this approach with her.

Edited by Sean_D

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@Chris Stewartjust go out and really enjoy the time with your son. I started my 13 year old daughter this season and have had a great time playing a nice executive course nearby. I try to focus a lot on golf etiquette and mix in no more than a couple tips here and there. I leave most of the "teaching" for the range and or Topgolf. I don't want to inundate her on the course with a ton of feedback or teaching points, no different then I try not to do the same. 

Be sure to keep the game fun for your son and in time you guys will start seeing progress. I try to keep it light with simple reminders of stuff we have worked on off the course. I don't want our playing rounds to be less fun for us both by my constant badgering and hounding of do this, do that, you messed that up, you should try this. That is no fun for anyone. 

Good luck!

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Really appreciate the thoughts everyone.  We had a great time today.  My son had an absolute blast.  He's hooked.  He wanted to head straight to the range after our 9 holes. 😄  He teed it up on every hole and hit a 6i or lower.  He never teed up shots after the tee shot, but I kept that in my back pocket in case he really started to struggle.  The course is short, about 2,200 yards from the tees we played today.  The course was loaded as it's basically the cheapest option in town.  It gave me the opportunity to explain etiquette along the way.

While it's been years since I've played regularly, there was a time not that long ago I played to a 15.  I was shocked to find my son legitimately beat me on hole #3 today.  He had a double, while I posted a triple.  He had a lot of shots you'd expect from someone that had never stepped onto a course before.  He also had a number of shots that just looked awesome.  Really glad he enjoyed it so much.

@Sean_D I've been hearing about that program.  Since he's been so eager to get into golf and I'm happy to start playing again, I've been looking for a consistent place for us to play, find some junior camps for him, etc.  Operation 36 has come up every place I've looked.  It definitely looks like the right way to start teaching the game.

Edited by Chris Stewart

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@Chris Stewart, I am happy it went well.  Sometimes you might consider playing a two-person scramble with him instead of your own balls.  It keeps things moving and you hit from the same area all the time rather than bouncing around.  I did this with the grandkids so we wouldn't hold up groups behind us.

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@bkuehn1952 that's a good idea.  There were definitely a few instances of that after he topped ~2 in a row.  Instead of having him keep hacking at it, he'd pick it up and drop by me for his next shot.  He's still smiling ear to ear this morning.  I asked him what we were going to do the rest of the week/weekend.  He replied, "golf?!?" 😄

Edited by Chris Stewart

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Nice to hear it went well and thanks for everyone's advice.

My son is 2½ and I am really looking forward to playing some golf with him in future. He already fires foam balls around the garden using a kids' iron (it's for 4 year olds so he has to tuck the handle under his armpit...) but I don't know whether he'll continue to be interested!

 

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1 hour ago, Chris Stewart said:

I asked him what we were going to do the rest of the week/weekend.  He replied, "golf?!?" 

Chris... that is too cute!  Gotta love that young guy.  Are we talking the next Tiger here???

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5 minutes ago, Double Mocha Man said:

Chris... that is too cute!  Gotta love that young guy.  Are we talking the next Tiger here???

I'm just hoping he finds a sport for life, and it gives us another avenue to spend time together. He's going on 13. Time is flying. Taking all the chances I can right now as I'm sure before I know it he'll be out of the house.

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