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
1. 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....
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