Tips to get kids interested in golf
Modern children face no shortage of things to do, and many kids are involved in competitive sports. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that the proportion of boys and girls playing on sports teams increased between 1998 and 2020.
The lasting appeal of athletics and recreation is undeniable, and kids as young as preschool age can participate in a wide range of sports, including baseball and soccer. And though it might require a little more patience on the part of players and parents, golf is another great sport to introduce to children. Kids unfamiliar with golf may be hesitant to give it a shot, but the following are some strategies parents can try to get their youngsters more interested in the game.
· Start with miniature golf. Though mini golf and the real thing are two entirely different activities, many an avid golfer first picked up a club on a miniature golf course. Mini golf is all about having fun, and the joy kids have on a miniature golf course might spark an interest in playing traditional golf.
· Play with kids. Young children typically are excited to engage in any activity if it involves playing alongside their parents. Parents who play golf can take their kids along to the course, first taking them to the range and practice green so they can teach them some of the fundamentals of the game. As kids' skills develop, parents can play nine holes with their youngsters. The time spent bonding on the course will be unforgettable for parents and children. Older children might want to bring a friend along when playing with parents, and this, too, can be a great way to foster a love of the game in kids.
· Make it about fun, not the final score. It's up to parents if they even want to keep score, but the primary focus when golfing with young children should be fun. Try to take lessons on the range or putting green out to the course, but don't overemphasize technique or score. If kids are having a frustrating round, note that every golfer has such rounds and divert their attention by pointing out the surrounding beauty. And keep in mind that it never hurts to leave time for some post-round ice cream.
· Set a positive example. Golf can be a frustrating game for novices and veterans alike. Parents can set a good example by remaining positive even if their own score is nothing to write home about. Resist any inclination to lash out after a shank or slice, and stay patient even when struggling with your short game. Kids are always watching their parents for cues, so it's best to ensure any frustration does not manifest itself outwardly.
· Avoid forcing the issue. Parents who are avid golfers understandably want to share their passion for the game with their children. But forcing the issue when kids are young might compel them to avoid the game at all costs. Let kids' love of the game develop organically, even if that means putting their clubs away until they're ready to try again.
Golf is a great game that can teach kids invaluable lessons. Certain strategies may foster a lifelong love of the game in youngsters.