Alright, we're cookin' now. Our kid is a natural and he/she can't get enough of the old "Pasture Pool".
It's time, that's right, it's time to begin to spend some greenbacks on your child to better prepare him/her to play competitive golf.
Now, we didn't say 'every' kid should be given this opportunity. It's critically important that your child have the athletic ability to hit the ball, the intelligence to understand the game and have an insatiable passion to play!! If we have those ingredients, now's the time to get serious.
You as a Dad or Mom may believe that you have the capability to teach your child the game and, especially to be their swing coach. You may be right!!
I was my kid's swing coach until he went off to college (Division I, Temple University - no braggin', jus' sayin'). I believe the instruction and guidance I gave him during his early years produced a kid that could play with a solid handle on the fundamentals of the game.
But, I, personally, had years and years of developing my own game, reading and practicing as well as competing at the higher amateur levels of the game.
Do you, as a parent have that background? Do you have enough knowledge of the golf game, golf swing, short game and putting as well as the strategic and mental necessities to develop a competitive golfer? If not, let's be honest now, then we need to do this....
How much will this cost us?
We've gotta find a professional golf instructor.
Begin your research by asking anyone you know who is deeply engaged in the game, possibly your local high school or college coach who might be the best junior golf instructor in your area. NOTE: It doesn't have to be a PGA of America Golf Professional, but, most likely the best one around will be a member o the PGA of America. Contact the first two or three that you hear about and ask them a few questions;
1. What children have you instructed that have been successful as a competitive junior golfer?
2. How many of your students have made it to the college ranks as golfers?
3. How often do we have to have lessons with you?
4. How much will this cost us?
I would use the answers to these questions and the general feeling I got from the interview (especially Mom's gut feel) to determine which instructor I wanted to bring our kid to.
The first lesson should be an evaluation of your child's swing and knowledge of the game.
This is the beginning of a long process and YOU control what's going to happen with your child's golf game. I pray it goes well for you and your child. Golf is a great game for the ages.
By the way, my son is now 40, a plus 2 handicap and plays regularly at the highest levels of amateur competition. Our relationship is bolstered due to our mutual enjoyment and love for the game.
Pretty cool, huh!?
Next Post ............
Playing golf for recreation is a great activity for children, but, when do we get our child golfer into competitions?
We may want to say that competing is not really the goal, somehow it is quite natural for everyone, including or, especially kids to compete at everything and golf is no exception. This may even be the ultimate goal for you and your child as they progress in their golf game. The ultimate objective may be a college golf scholarship and, even, the professional Tours.
Competing is what it's all about.
The beginning of all of this is when your child, of course, becomes obsessed with the game and wants to play all the time.
No matter where they play regularly, hopefully, there are other kids they can compete against; whether its putting and chipping, aiming at various targets on the driving range, a few holes or nine to eighteen; there's plenty of ways to compete.
Getting in the habit of competing is a great way to challenge any kid and get them in the mode of measuring their progress in the game.
When your child gets better and better, you, Dad and Mom, will have to make a decision
We mentioned in an earlier post that the PGA Junior League is a great way to begin competing in the game. It's pretty simple to engage with the PGA locally on this League. Just click on the website above to find the right connection.
The First Tee also has developed competitions, but, not necessarily ongoing and increasing in skill level competitions, but, it can be a great place to begin.
Many middle schools have begun to offer golf programs. The few that I have observed don't seem to have a great number of skilled players nor coaches, but, the opportunity to play and practice several times a week is beneficial to any young golfer as they not only are around the game regularly, but, the natural tendency to compete is, now, available everyday; putting, chipping, longest 5 iron, wedge to a target, 9 hole and 18 hole competitions... heck, we used to compete by seeing who could hit off of the cart path closest to the hole or any silly challenge we could think up. It's great....
High school is when the game gets pretty serious, but, not too serious in many schools. If you're living in Arizona or Florida, even, Texas, the golfers in high school become very competitive and this is great to bring your young freshman if he or she has been competing regularly. Hopefully, you have a great golf coach at this level, but, many high schools do not. Don't fret, there are alot of other places to compete.
Alright, now we're really gettin' into it!!!
When your child gets better and better, you, Dad and Mom, will have to make a decision if your child has the capacity to play with the big boys and girls....
What do we mean? There are a number of players all over the world who are extremely great players and many of them have been groomed from an early age to compete and win at their age level or, even, at the next age level.
This is where it gets serious and when it can cost alot of moolah!!
The best players score in the seventies the majority of the time if not lower. If your child is 15 or older and NOT shooting below 80 most days on his/her home course, you may not want to enter them into outside tournaments, but, if they are persistent and want to play against the better players, then search in your area for the local USGA Junior schedule and/or PGA Section tournament schedule.
Get ready to shell out the bucks, but, this is the best way to show your child what the competition is REALLY like and either frustrate them or invigorate them to get better..... and do it.
Lastly, we don't want to list every junior golf event across the globe and we will do this in our Facebook Groups.
But, for now, we'll just list this web address to get a flavor for the tournaments out there, then, you search and search and become more and more familiar with the events available for your child.
Best of everything. If you need more guidance, don't hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next Post ....
Alrighty then, we"ve got a keeper in our child who exhibited some athleticism in his or her first several sessions on the range. Now, where can we take our kids to, actually, play golf?
You've got a keeper!!
Whatever you do, don't show up with your seven year old at 7:30 AM on a Saturday expecting an open armed welcome from your pro shop attendant!!
Most players on Saturday morning are like rabid dogs as they protect those weekend tee times. The pro shop attendant will scoff you outa the shop.
Your best bet is to map out a hole in your back yard and if not big enough, head to a local open space, map out a hole or two and let your child go at it. Next search around and see if there's a pitch & putt or a six hole course around your area. Sometimes local clubs have a practice hole or a chipping area where, under supervision, you can let your child knock it around.
TRY TO AVOID THIS....
Now comes the time where you might be looking to get your child serious about playing the game.
Depending upon the age of your child and we'd say, in general, to only attempt to get your child on a real golf course when he/she can hit the ball consistently without wiffing five or six times on each shot. And, at that point you're going to want to be on the course when no one else is behind you. It does pay benefits to get your child on the 'real' course as they get a better feeling of how the game is played, tee boxes, fairways. rough, bunkers, greens (putting and chipping), etc.
I recently had a golf course owner give me a great idea; take your kid our to the course (on a not so busy day). Have him/her play nine or eighteen holes from 40 yards in and see if the child can break 50 for nine or 100 for eighteen holes. Once he/she can do that, move 'em to 60 yards and play, etc.
Great idea, huh?
Once again, if you're witnessing a kid who is pretty good at the game, it's time to get him/her on the course and in a program that they can grow their game and comradery with others who are growing in the game.
I'm sure you've heard of the PGA Junior program as well as others like the First Tee. The PGA encourages their PGA of America Professionals to keep a steady stream of youngsters flowing out of their golf clubs. So, they, normally, conduct special instruction times for their members and through public courses the club would do the same.
The PGA Júnior League (https://pgareach.org/services/youth/) is a fairly new program that encourages kids to join with others in a scramble format for competition and comradery.
The First Tee program was established many years ago now as an initiative of the Tiger Woods Foundation and many other "grow the game" initiatives to help inner city kids get into the game. First Tee has grown more inclusive over the past few years. They conduct regular programs to teach kids golf, but, include character development as a staple for their program.
Either way, getting your child into the next level of golf is as easy as sending an email or picking up the phone to learn more and get your kids into the game.
We, of course are developing our Golf Program in Schools (GPS). We have several locations now with our main emphasis in the Phoenix, AZ community.
We are hoping to have you engage with us her online in order to learn more about us so that we can create your young golfer into Greatness in their personal life with a loving God and their golf life through our on site programs.
Check us out here
Next Post .....
So you've decided your child or children should play golf. Good choice, by the way, in our humble opinion.
How do we begin?
In the old days you went to Country Club and handed them over to the Club Pro and paid out the ying yang, bought a junior membership in "The Club" and continued to pay the big bucks for your child to hang out at the course every day charging lunches and sodas and his/her buddies' sodas as well when they put it on your account. Those days are pretty much gone unless you're in the Country Club set. If not, here's seven ways to introduce your children to golf and NOT starve while doin' it......
Find a First Tee program in your local area
Take your child/children to the local driving range ensure you get a seven or eight iron that the kid can swing back and forth without falling over. Buy a bucket of balls and place them in the hitting stall and let them have at it. Not necessary or overloaded instruction. Just let 'em hit some balls and see how they react. If they hit a few fairly well and, generally, enjoy themselves then you have a chance. If they miss it more than they hit it and get bored with it quickly, you may not have a golfer in the family, but, hey at least you tried.
2. For the child that hits is fairly well and had a good time, the next step is to get him/her a little instruction from someone who knows what they're doing. Not Uncle Joe because he has played go1lf for three to five years and "knows how to play". No, don't go there. Find a First Tee program in your local area and find out from them who the better golf instructors are for children and contact that teacher for an introductory lesson.
3. Negotiate a fair deal with the instructor. No one learns the golf swing in one session or in just a few sessions. It's probably a good idea to get a package of ten or so lessons. A good rate for that would be $30 - $40 per lesson or just a bit higher. Each lesson should be a half-hour as the children have fairly short attention spans and most don't like hitting ball after ball on the driving range.
4. Take time to bring your child back to the driving range and hit balls together once or twice a week. Ensure you take them to the practice putting green as well. Provide your child a very basic putting grip and show them how you putt. They will develop their own putting grip and style. Then, let 'em enjoy themselves. Recommend you challenge 'em to a few competitions. The kids love that. Don't relish in beating them and don't be too sad when they beat you. Lol.
5. Get 'em on the golf course and let 'em experience playing a few holes. Just, again, let 'em hit the ball anyway they want to. Don't burden them with instructions on their swing or the rules just yet. Let the instructor work on their swing during their instruction periods. Don't hound the kid about etiquette, but mention about being respectful of others while playing, keeping reasonably quiet, don't step in anyone's putting line and, certainly, no grab-ass on the golf course. (did I just write that?)
6. Set up a simple chipping area in your backyard. After the pro gives them a lesson on chipping, identify a safe space in your back yard that allows the child to hit balls to practice. This may be a good place to use wiffle balls or soft-type balls so the windows aren't broken.
7. Golf is a great game for our kids, but, kids will stay with the game longer if they have a buddy their own age who also likes the game. If their current friends don't play, try to ask the instructor if he/she has other kids of similar age and ability for them to meet and play with in the future. This friendship has a chance of lasting for a long time.
This is just seven things to get your child into the game. There are more things to consider and we'll relate those to you in subsequent posts and our ebook on the same subject.
See you next time....
Ok, we've decided to get our child some golf clubs and we're gonna get them to the range.
How do I ensure the clubs fit him/her?
Don't do what many parents do and go out and buy a set of clubs. Go to the local driving range. Find out where the used clubs are and find one or two irons, say a seven or an eight iron that fits your child. Fit, you say? What does that mean? Just like you would choose a club that comfortably fits between your hands and the ground as you take a golf club in your hands, it should be the same for your child. As they stand in an athletic stance, feet shoulder length apart, bending at the waste, comfortably the club's grip should rest about midway in their stomach area. Like so... (see picture above)
Again, don't worry about the clubs you find. The objective is to get the child a club that they can swing without falling over or that will stick 'em in the ribs because they are choking up too much. Aaaanddd if it could be bright purple for girls or Ricky Fowler orange that would be ideal.... no, just kidding.
Most likely, as you turn around from the clubs, you'll see the counter with the baskets of balls stacked up. You choose the size basket/bucket that you want and head on out there. Choose an area where you won't bother the other golfers if possible and ensure you talk to your family about safety with the swinging of the club and walking around the mat areas, etc. It ruins the day when someone gets bonked on the head with a golf club, trust me.
Just go out there and let your child watch you take your stance, grip, posture and hit a few balls yourself. Don't worry about your swing or success, just show them the general way to do that. Oh, yeah, talk to them about the target you are aiming at so they can also become target-directed. Now, let them do the same. Again, don't worry about the exact way in which they grip the club or, even, swing it. Just let them swing at the ball until they are so frustrated that they want to stop. Let them do that. Enough is enough. If they love it and want to hit more, let 'em if you have the time.
This should be enough for day one. We'll talk about follow on, next.
Trying to follow the Lord's will regarding ministry and the platform of golf.