Children often imitate their parents. So it shouldn’t be a surprise when you visit the local golf course and see a slew of players no taller than a five-iron on the green.
“Golf is often a family sport, where a parent, or even a friend or coach, will pass down the love for the game to their child,” says Rob Coleman, chief communications officer for the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA). “Many local courses provide junior golf programs, intended to teach the fundamentals of the game, and offer smaller tournaments. From there, the golfers can move to city and state tournaments, as well as high school golf.”
Then comes the AJGA. “Our association is looking for top golfers who have completed their levels and are ready to play in national tournaments against players from all over the world,” explains Coleman.
So you think you might have the next Tiger Woods, but worry he/she may already be too old? The beauty of golf is that it has no age restrictions, says Coleman. And it’s never too early for kids to start learning the lessons of honesty and respect for other players that are part of etiquette on the green.
“The benefits of the game are priceless,” he continues. “Golf instills integrity in children, while providing a sport they can play for years to come.”
Golf can be an expensive activity, which can easily average close to $300 per month. Here’s how to keep your initial costs low.
Get a Grip. Kids need clubs to fit their height, but don’t buy a new set. Cut down a used club at a local golf store or repair shop, and adorn it with a new grip. Shop garage sales for used sets.
Be a Team Player. Opt for group training, an inexpensive way to get lessons and meet new friends.
For general information, as well as listings of classes and tournaments, visit these sites.
So hand the kids some clubs. You’ll be encouraging them to learn a new skill, as well as creating an opportunity for additional family fun.
The Love of the Game
When Marty Welch took his son to the links for the first time, he never expected to watch a two-and-a-half-year-old toddler to develop an instant passion for golf.
“My wife, Grace, was seven months pregnant and asked me to take our son Patrick out for a few hours so she could rest,” explains Marty Welch. “We went to the golf course and started putting. As I watched him, I thought, ‘This is amazing!'”
That day of golf changed Patrick’s life. He started off with a simple set of plastic clubs, but his club collection grew. Soon he was competing on the tournament circuit. “He actually won his first tournament,” says Welch.
Now seven-years-old, Patrick recently finished third out of more than 30 players in the U.S. Kids Golf Jekyll Island Cup and is now gearing up for the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship at Pinehurst this August. The proud dad notes, “It really does bring a tear to my eye every time I watch him.”