Golf has long been a civilised, noble and respectable sport. It breeds a calm and serene personality, and encourages forward thinking and concentration. Who wouldn’t want these traits to be features of their children’s character? These benefits are all by products of an enjoyable and healthy way to stay fit and active, whilst having more than a little fun also. I personally think that this all comes together to make a good case for getting your kids into golf at an early age. They’ll thank you for it someday.
Mini Golf and Crazy Golf
These activities seem custom designed to achieve this purpose. Crazy golf will be an instant access for a young child; with loops and bright colours, squirting water and moving parts. Crazy golf requires timing and ingenuity to master and it’s a great way to start close range putting. Don’t expect a great surface, but expect a great day.
Mini golf should be considered as a natural graduation from its wackier little brother. Mini golf does away with a lot of the parts of the course considered more ‘fun’ or ‘crazy’ and instead opts for more skill and golfing know-how. Curves and hills are introduced in a strategic sense, rather than for enjoyment. Many mini golf courses are now also featuring an artificial turf equivalent of ‘rough,’ in which you incur a penalty for entering. This is a good way to highlight the horror of disappointment when landing in the rough!
Pitch ‘n’ Putt
This is probably the first real chance that kids will get to taste what real golf can be like. A lot of towns and cities now have Pitch ‘n’ Putt courses, open to beginners and veterans alike. These are almost always non-membership (pay to play) courses which offer a scale more similar to that of a real course, but with the gentle learning curve and recreational feel. The name comes simply from the two types of clubs that you are loaned whilst playing; one for pitching and one for putting. This is a good way to teach your children the basics of selecting a club and how to use them. The other players are often patient, and it’s polite to let a waiting group pass you if they are in smaller numbers or are clearly better players. Breeding this golfing etiquette into children is key if they hope to one day play on membership courses.
First Set Of Clubs
When the big day comes and you feel that your kids are ready for a real course, you’ll want to celebrate by buying them their first set of clubs. Each manufacturer produces different types of clubs and professionals will be able to pick up on the minute differences. But for a beginner, you should opt in buying them an all-in-one set from a medium level brand. Go for the hybrid irons and avoid being talked into the big brand names. By all means dream of your kids appreciating the difference between a set of Callaways and Clevelands, but don’t waste your money on it. That day will come eventually, and you’ll feel the dent in your wallet when it does!
When To Step On To The Course
This is a big point. Golf courses are exclusive sites and you want to keep the proprietors and other players happy. Don’t take your kids on unless they can drive the ball well. A waiting party will quickly grow impatient if they see amateurs in front of them, taking up their time. Teach your children of a driving range, and then you can teach them putting at home. An 18-hole course will feel like a very long day if you keep hitting turf.
The most important thing is to have fun. Golf is a sport, after all. Teach your kids and guide them well, and you’ll likely find that they’ll soon be carried away by the passion of it. Even likelier is that they’ll be giving you a handicap before long.
Colin Knight is an avid golfer and father of two budding (and soon to be better) golfing sons. He currently works for Belmont Lodge, a beautiful 3 star golf hotel on the riverside in Herefordshire.