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 37, 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!?
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.
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 Jurnior 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.
Trying to follow the Lord's will regarding ministry and the platform of golf.