Have you ever wondered how you can get your kids into golf? Golf is an unbelievable sport for kids to learn as it is one of those rare sports that you can play regardless of age. You can also create memories with your children that will last a lifetime.
Sure, we all want our kids to be the next winner of the Drive, Chip, and Putt at Augusta National. But the key is not to force them into doing something they don’t want to do or they might burn out quickly.
As golf is a sport that you can play nearly forever, you don’t want to force it early on in their childhood years. If they are excited about golf and want to get started keep going. But, if they don’t love it don’t force it.
The number one key to getting your kids into golf is to make FUN the number one priority!
Here are the three basic steps to get your kids into golf at a young age.
Choose the Correct Golf Clubs for your Kids
As I’m sure you know from personal experience, your equipment can make the game much easier or harder. Choosing the right clubs is essential in getting your kids started golfing. It’s already a hard enough sport, don’t make it harder on your kids by selecting the wrong equipment.
I always recommend anyone who wants to get kids into golf to start with junior sets. Don’t try to saw down an adult set because you have an extra bag of clubs in the garage. This can be a recipe for disaster. Sure, they might be the right length but chances are they are very stiff and heavy to compared to junior golf equipment.
Depending on the age of your children, you want to find junior equipment that is light and easy to hit. You want maximum forgiveness to make their first experiences as fun as possible.
Here are four affordable options depending on your child’s age and height:
- Toddler Plastic Golf Club Set
- PowerBilt Junior Kids Golf Club Set (Ages 5-8)
- Nitro Blaster Kids Golf Club: 8 Piece Set (Ages 9-12)
- Wilson Complete Junior Golf Set With Bag (Ages 11-14)
You don’t need to start with a full bag of 14 clubs, even a basic starter set of five clubs is a great place to begin.
Golf Instruction for Kids
Once you have the proper equipment, it’s time to start practicing. When your child is first getting into golf let their natural swing take over.
If they’ve played baseball or hockey let their normal nuances carry into golf. Don’t try to change too much too fast. The easier and more simple the grip and swing the better.
If you try to provide too much instruction too quickly they might get frustrated or discouraged and give up. Instead, only offer instruction if they ask for it. If they do want instruction, try to show them by doing the correct shot instead of telling them what to do. Kids are very visual and respond best to showing them a drill or even watching a Youtube video.
If your kids are brand new to golf:
- I recommend starting primarily with the setup.
- Focus on creating a foundation by showing them how to grip the club, address the ball, and let the rest happen naturally.
- If they want to try different grips let them, little things like grip and ball position might feel like drudgery to them. If they want to use a baseball grip, go for it!
Keep it fun!
Make Practice Fun
One of the biggest reasons kids quit sports and activities is when they aren’t having fun. If golf feels like a chore more than a fun activity with family, they will likely burn out. Keeping with the theme mentioned at the beginning, make practice super fun!
- In the beginning, a great place to start is practicing in the backyard with plastic wiffle balls.
- Or if you practice at a course or driving range try to go on off times like the late evenings, not a crowded weekend morning.
When you get there, ask your kids what they want to practice (bunkers, chipping, driver, etc). Then go from there.
Let their curiosity get the best of them and follow them around to explain any questions they might have. Provide as much encouragement as possible. Say things like “great swing” or “perfect putt” to build their confidence. Encourage them to use their creativity to hit shots that you might not see to make it all about them.
Another way to make practice fun is to set up little competitions. Try to make games of all different shots by playing for soda, spare change, candy, etc.
Golf Drills for Kids
As I’m sure you know, putting is what separates ok from great players. The problem is that most kids (or adults) don’t want to practice putting but instead try to bomb drivers. Try to teach them the game backward like Earl Woods did for Tiger. Make putting competitions fun and reward them for winning or hitting great putts. Tell them sayings like “Drive for show and putt for dough” or “Speed is king” to help them understand the importance of putting.
For the full swing drills, keep it simple! Here are two drills for balance and swing speed from Suzy Whaley of the Golf Channel. Watch the full video here:
- Balance Drill for Kids - Balance is so important in the golf swing, especially for kids getting started. A little off balance can lead to severe miss hits or whiffs which aren’t very encouraging for new golfers. To start the drill, have them make a full swing and hold the finish for three full seconds (counting out loud, one one-thousand, two one-thousand, three-thousand, etc.).
- Speed Drill for Kids - Speed is also necessary for juniors to hit the ball farther. Have them grip the club upside down so your child is gripping the bottom of the shaft. Have them make practice swings hearing the “Whoosh” as the club goes through the air. In the video, Suzy says she has her junior golfers do this swing 100 times per day to help increase swing speed.
Remember to always create a fun environment when practicing, not a teaching environment.
How to Play Golf With Kids
Once you’ve practiced enough, I’m sure your kids will be ready to take their skills to the course. Again, make this experience stress free and as fun as possible. Have them bring a friend or golf with people they know at the beginning. Most people, including kids, get nervous when others are watching!
Here are three easy ways to make golf easier for kids:
- Shorten the Course - As golf tries to keep up with new technology courses are now longer than ever. Don’t make the round harder than it needs to be when your kids are just getting started. Choose to play Par 3 courses or if you are at a normal course, have them tee it up at 50 or 100 yards and play the hole from there. Make sure you play from those tees to make it feel like a bonding experience and show them support as well.
- Ignore the Rules - The best golf rules for kids are having almost no rules! Allow them to have mulligans, tee it up in the fairway, and try different shots that they might not be able to practice at the driving range.
- Get Rid of The Scorecard - Don’t even keep score in the beginning, only if they want. If 9 holes are too long or they get frustrated don’t be afraid to leave after 5 or 6. Again, it’s all about having fun!
Golf Etiquette With Kids
If your kids are just getting into golf, I recommend trying to play at off times whenever possible.
If a group comes up let them play through, they will understand. Also, check with courses as some golf courses even have designated times for juniors.
The other part about etiquette is to eliminate bad behavior early on in their golfing career. Don’t worry about your game and performance, instead act as an example of someone with the right etiquette and attitude.
Golf, as I’m sure you know, is frustrating but don’t allow them to have a bad attitude if things don’t go well. The only reason people don’t want kids on the course if they are screaming, throwing clubs, and tearing up the course. Nip this behavior immediately and let them know that golf won’t be a regular occurrence with that kind of behavior.
Let them know that getting mad at golf doesn’t ever help anything either. Instead, tell them to take a deep breath and just have fun. Act as if you are their caddy and are there to make the experience as enjoyable as possible for them.
Teach them to play golf with zero expectations!
Get Your Kids Started Playing Golf Today
Hopefully, this article post will help you get your kids into golf. Remember, the number one theme is to have fun no matter what!
You want your kids to play and enjoy golf for the rest of their lives, don’t ruin it by making it feel like a chore. If they start to fall in love with it try to nurture their passion for the game as much as possible.
Take them to the course, buy stuff to practice at home, and watch golf on TV together. Check if there is a First Tee program nearby as they offer fun camps, lessons, and events for junior golfers.
Also, don’t be afraid to learn from your kids as well.
As legendary golf sports psychologist, Dr. Bob Rotella said, “If they want to play three holes and go to the clubhouse to get a soda, so be it. The best thing you can do is show your kids what a great time you're having. If they see you having a wonderful time, then chances are they'll have a good time, too.”
Enjoy every moment of golf with your child as it’s an experience that you will both remember for years to come. If there is anything you got from this make sure to have as much fun as possible. This attitude can also help your game as well.
Why not make it a full family event? Head over to my post on how to get your significant other into golf.
Remember, golf is just a game, don’t forget to enjoy it!