From a Parent….To My Fellow Parents….
First of all I am a parent of two wonderful boys. I will be speaking to you as a parent but as a PGA professional golf instructor as well. These ideas have worked for a long time and are solid fundamentals to help guide you in your quest to help your son or daughter. Golf is a great game but needs to be introduced to a junior golfer the correct way. Here are my 10 tips for parents out there to use as a template:
10 Tips for Parents of Junior Golfers
- Has to be FUN- A great way to introduce the game of golf to your kids if they have never played is by signing them up for a junior golf camp or clinic. It will be fun and that is the main thing. Sure they will learn a lot but the end goal is for your junior golfer to associate golf with being FUN!
- Find a PGA instructor who has a passion for teaching junior golfers. I would recommend doing a weekly lesson in the beginning and be consistent. This makes a big difference! You can go to PGA.com and find local PGA teaching professionals. There are many more junior events listed on PGA.com. This is a great resource for us parents.
- Join a PGA Junior League- Again you can look at PGA.com and find the closest league to where you live. This is for ages 7 to 16. Season runs from April to July. Team will consist of 8 to 12 players. The junior golfers will learn the rules of golf, sportsmanship, etiquette, competitiveness, and social skills. There are 6 tournaments where the kids play nine holes. They will play as a team and play a 2 person scramble. The junior golfers and parents will learn how to play at a correct pace, where to stand, and how to score. If you are a parent that knows nothing about golf then you will learn a lot through this PGA junior league as well. There is a 80% retention rate of kids coming back from the previous year. That says a lot about how great this program is working.
- Take your son or daughter to a Topgolf facility. What a fun time for the whole family. If you have never golfed and do not have golf clubs, they provide clubs for you to hit at TopGolf. I have yet to hear someone not have FUN! It is a great way to spend family time together and your junior golfer will probably be glad to teach you a thing or two about how to swing the club.
- Find other junior golfers for your kid to play with. By getting involved in the PGA junior league you will make some connections there. Important to find a couple of players to play golf with.
- Find some local junior golf tournaments to play in. US Kids golf tour has junior golf tours all throughout the United States. It is a quality tour and is ran very professionally. I would recommend doing this tour after doing the PGA junior league. This is individual play and even more competitive.
- Get your junior golfer the right equipment- For 3 to 14 year old golfers there is only one brand of clubs I would recommend and it is the US KIds Golf Clubs. It is the only company that dedicates 100% of research into what clubs work best for all different levels of juniors. What I mean by that is they have clubs for the different heights and strength levels for every child. This makes a big difference having clubs that your child can swing. They are weighted to where kids can enjoy the game! I have seen juniors with some clubs that are too heavy, too long, or too short and this ruins the chance for the junior to have a positive experience. I personally let beginners use some of the US Kids clubs I have in the beginning and then as they start to really like the game, I advise the parents on what size to get their child. Pretty easy process as we do the fitting by how tall your child is in inches. Then they have a few different choices for shafts depending on your son or daughters strength level.
- Watch the PGA or LPGA tournaments on television- Great way to reinforce what your junior is learning and also learn some rules of the game. I grew up watching The Masters in the springtime and that tournament always inspired me to want to win golf tournaments. I also watched all the major tournaments such as the British Open, US Open, and the PGA Championship. You will learn a lot of the history and traditions of this great game by watching these tournaments. These tournaments gave me the drive and passion to practice with a lot of purpose!
- Get your junior golfer some golf clothes and shoes- You don’t have to break the bank on this but getting some shirts, shorts, shoes, and hats that their favorite PGA or LPGA player wears does help your junior golfer get excited to want to play or practice. Look good, feel good, and play good! At junior golf tournaments I see so many junior golfers wearing what Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroy wear. From the girls you see a lot wearing what several of the popular LPGA stars wear like Lexi Thompson.
- Take your junior golfer to a PGA or LPGA event. This really makes a difference. They can see in person the best golfers in the world playing golf. This can certainly inspire and give your child the passion to really excel at the game of golf. All the events have autograph areas where your child can get their hat, golf balls, or a flag signed by a touring professional. This will make their day and they will remember this for a lifetime!
These are some great tips for all parents to help their junior golfers have fun, passion, and have a lifelong LOVE for the game of golf.