Introducing juniors to the game of golf is no simple task. A lot of new golfers are put under pressure to understand the rules of the game and keep up with the pace of play, which are important, but often deters people from wanting to participate. What’s forgotten a lot of the time is that the most important thing when introducing any new player to the game is that they have fun.
Whatever the aspirations may be for your child in the game of golf, it’s our job to remember and to remind our children that it is just a game. Making sure your child associates the golf course with fun, whether that be at the range, putting green, clubhouse, or on the course itself is important to keeping them interested in the game. Make sure that you select a course that supports and embraces having juniors at the club.
Keeping new players, and specifically juniors, from being intimidated about playing the game starts with teaching the basic rules and etiquette before they are under pressure. Remind new players to take their time when hitting the ball, but be courteous and rush between shots to give yourself time over the ball. Allowing quicker groups to play through or picking times when the course isn’t busy can also make juniors feel more comfortable. Ask your course what days or times of day are the best for bringing out new golfers.
One of the best tools to introducing your children into golf is the programs and lessons that your local golf clubs. Many golf clubs offer free or inexpensive junior lessons early in the year to help introduce and improve young children’s games. These programs are generally run by local PGA of Canada Professionals and utilize programs like SNAG (Starting New At Golf), which offer smaller kids clubs used to hit tennis balls to introduce kids in a easier, fun environment.
This can be taken a step further with individual lessons if you are finding your junior is keen to learn more. When it comes to practice and lessons, let your junior decide how much they want to do and what is too much — the worst thing you can do is force them to do it too much.
Once your junior is course-ready, make sure to take advantage of the sponsored play programs in the area that allow your junior to play for free with a paid adult or member. This is becoming a new trend in the industry to try and make it more feasible for adults to introduce their young ones to the game in a price sensitive way.
Some golf clubs have taken it a step further and have free junior clubs for children to use during their round. Others may offer programs where a volunteer will take a group of juniors out for a round of golf and teach them about the game.
The important thing for the golf industry is that more juniors start to golf so make sure to do your research and find out what programs your local courses offer.
— Ryan Galay