March 22nd, 2012 by Tyler Pringle
Teaching golf to youngsters can be one of the most rewarding experiences you can have in the game. Seeing the pure joy on a child’s face watching the ball fly into the air after hitting it in the sweetspot for the first time is truly a one of a kind moment. But often is the case when kids try to learn the game, get frustrated with all the things to remember, and wind up with a distaste for the game and don’t return.
At American Golf, we believe in spreading the game to everyone, and we think we can all do our part to teach the game to someone who does not play. Kids who grow up playing golf and actually enjoying it are very likely to carry the game with them their entire lives, and in turn, pass the game on to others.
This post is designed to give you some ideas for how to leave a positive impression of the game with the kids you teach.
Keep it Fun
This is probably the most important aspect to teaching kids. Give them the freedom to say what they want to do. Rather than trying to develop the proper swing mechanics right from the start, let them enjoy just whacking the ball. Most of the times as adults, we want to teach the proper fundamentals so bad habit aren’t developed. Often times this manifests itself in creating a structure and rules to the swing. Kids want to be free and creative, so let them hit the ball between their legs, or whatever other crazy stuff they want to do. By focusing on fun initially instead of developing a a great swing, your student will be more likely to want to come out again- and that’s the biggest key to developing a golfer.
It doesn’t take much muscle to get the ball in the air, but if you’re 4, it might be all your strength. However, almost anyone can putt, and this is probably the best place to start. There are a few reasons why starting on and around the green is a better place than starting on the range. First off, the entire object of the game is to get the ball in the hole. If you create a good develop a good putter, you’ll inherently develop a good golfer. Additionally, most shots happen around the green, so learning to chip and pitch well can make a big impact once it’s time to learn a full swing. This is also a great chance to teach some of the etiquette of golf, such as not stepping in another player’s line, how to tend a flag, and the order of putting from farther to closest to the hole.
Always have a reward for coming to the golf course to reinforce the positive. Something small like ice cream always works well. The important thing is to make sure to emphasize that this is something fun and there should be no pressure. Even if they don’t hit the ball well, still give them something at the end. After all, who doesn’t love a little ice cream.
What are some keys that you use to teach the game? We’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section below!