New Hobbies: How To Teach Your Kids To Love Golf
As we are limited in our normal outdoor adventures, we find ourselves scrolling the internet for creative ways to bring activities right to our homes. Are you a golf lover? A complete novice, but open to anything creative to get your kids moving? Before you jump right in with a formal lesson, try these fun games with your kids to get started and let us help you teach your children the love of the game!
The best place to begin your lesson with your kids would be on the putting green. An at-home alternative is simply creating a space on your living room floor! Clear away some space, grab a putter, a couple of golf balls, and a plastic cup, and you’ll be ready to go.
Here are a few options for clubs to get your kiddos started:
- Kids Golf Clubs on Amazon
- U.S. Kids Golf RS36 Yard Club with 3 Yard Balls
- Young Gun ZAAP Junior Kids Golf Right Hand 5 Iron Age: 3-5
Start by establishing a few basic skills. Focus on one or two key things with each lesson while offering lots of encouragement. Putting is one of the simplest strokes and one of the most important parts of the game, which makes it a great place to start. It’s nothing more than tapping the ball with the club gently while trying to put it in the hole! Most kids can usually perform a basic putting stroke while hitting the ball and learning control relatively quickly. Have them start with short putts of two or three feet, as this will build their confidence as they become more and more successful.
Upon completing the short putts, move to longer runs. Using a thin string to make a circle around the cup creating about a 3-foot radius. Then make another circle, about a radius of 5-feet feet around the first circle. Make the goal to hit the putt inside these circles, and give each ring a point value. This gives them a feeling of success, encouraging them to get closer but still rewarding them with each try. Once they hit a certain number of points, have a golf party with some golf-themed snacks (pretzel sticks for tees, marshmallows for golf balls, etc.).
After spending enough time on your “putting green,” it’s time to move to the yard and have some fun chipping. Chipping is just what it sounds like – using a short stroke with a wedge, to “chip” the ball toward a target, which will be the hole. Chipping is required when the ball hasn’t quite made it on the green or putting surface when you’re out on the course.
Demonstrate a basic chip-shot. As described above, this will not be much different than their putting stroke, using a wedge or a low-iron to lift the ball off the ground. Place a bucket or small trash can in the center to make it a game as they try and hit it, or even putt it in!
Both of these mini-games are a great introduction to the game of golf, and before long you’ll be hearing how they want to do more.
Now would be a good time to go outside in the yard. We suggest ordering some golf Wiffle balls (you don’t want to use real balls yet) and use that same wedge they used to chip before. But this time, they’ll need to use a half-swing to try and hit the ball farther.
Be sure to show them how to stand – feet shoulder-width, not too far apart, and with a slight bend at the knees. Most importantly, stay balanced and don’t swing too hard. Once they are ready to take a full swing, allow them to swing freely however comes naturally – again STAYING BALANCED.
Once they begin to make decent contact, and golf courses open again, let them join you on a trip to the course! Look for courses that offer junior or “Family Tees.” The PGA of America and U.S. Kids Golf established The PGA of America Family Course Program, a nationwide initiative to make golf more enjoyable for all members of a family, regardless of age and ability. We suggest letting them take shots from various spots during your round! Once the shots start to come, try a full-scale tee-to-green hole and see how it goes.
At this point, a full round likely won’t be too far off if they truly catch the golf-bug. Be careful though, before you know it they’ll be out-hitting you and giving you a couple of strokes a side.
Guest Post By: Jordan Fuller, Editor-in-Chief of Golf Influence