Getting Your Junior Started In Golf (Part 2 of 2)

Getting Your Junior Started In Golf (Part 2 of 2)

Last week I wrote about exactly how to get your junior involved in golf. I wrote about junior camps as well as junior coaching programs, and if you have not already read it, I recommend you do so by visiting The Daily Press website or our website or Facebook Page.

For part 2 we are going to really focus on exactly why these two systems work, and the nuts and bolts of what makes them so effective. For starters, we know most young golfers will not make golf a profession. So, we strive to teach the nine core values highlighted by The Frist Tee in order to make these juniors champions in life, not just on the golf course. The nine values taught in all of our programs are Honesty, Integrity, Sportsmanship, Respect, Confidence, Responsibility, Perseverance, Courtesy, and Judgement.

With those nine core values providing the foundation of everything that we do, we’ve created an Improvement System for juniors that simplifies things and makes the game fun!

Our Junior Improvement System

We created the hat system to give both our juniors and their parents a clear path to improvement like you have in martial arts. The hat system is based on having our juniors focus on the parts of the game they can master at their age & strength level. All players start at a White Hat Level, which is based on scoring from 100 yards from the hole and in. This the most critical part of golf, and the part that juniors can master and play to a level way beyond their age and strength level. They are unable to hit the ball 250 yards physically, but they can play to that equivalent level in their chipping and putting. If we want our juniors to love the game they have to be able to see improvement, have success, and be on a path to mastery.

Junior Developmental Tour

For a junior to advance in our hat system they will play in our Junior Developmental Tour where they play 9 holes with their teammates from weekly sessions on a Sunday afternoon with a parent or grandparent caddying. This gives them the opportunity to compete, which unfortunately in the past was not an option for beginning junior golfers. Unlike other sports where you play matches, games, and scrimmages right away (baseball, football etc), golf has been set up that you only play tournaments when you are a “good golfer.” Well, how are you meant to get good if you can’t play tournaments? So, this is why we created a junior tour for 2018 where our players can learn how to play the game with their friends with very little pressure on a course they can succeed with lots of fun and prizes.

The Hat System:

In each hat level, we have stars,

Level 1: White Hat (100 yards and in)

Play a tournament – 1 Star Pin to add on junior’s hat

Shoot 50 or lower – 2 Star Pins to add to junior’s hat

Shoot 45 or lower – 3 Star pins to add to junior’s hat

Shoot 39 or lower – Advance to Yellow Hat

The Progression then follows to Yellow Hat once a player shoots 39 or less & progresses all the way to The Blue Hat Level. As your child advances through the Hat System, they advance in our programming getting additional coaching time, skill development and mentoring.

Example Junior Golf Path

Starting Point –

  1. Participate in a Camp (5days 1.5 hours per day)
  2. Join Golf Coaching (1.5 hours Once per week after school)
  3. Play in Junior Tour (parents get to caddy for a fun family afternoon out)
  4. Advanced Coaching (Player shoots 39 or lower from 100-yard makers) 2 Hours weekly & On-Course Coaching
  5. Elite – 4 Hours weekly (Coaching 2 hrs. on course + Skill development focusing on swing and short game 2hrs
  6. College Path – Adds mentoring 2 x per month to support your junior golfer in creating a path to playing college golf through college selection, tournament schedule/stat tracking, and more.
  7. Mastery Classes are in addition to these programs are Intensive Courses to fast-track a player in a certain area in which they most need to improve.

My goal in writing these two junior golf articles is to give you (the parent) a better understanding on not only where to start but to better understand all of the options for your junior, no matter the skill level. There is no right or wrong way to get started, but I’ve found that it hasn’t always been clear on how to even get started. I really hope these two articles provide that clarity.

Getting Your Junior Started In Golf (Part 1 of 2)

Getting Your Junior Started In Golf


In prior articles, I’ve wrote to you about why juniors should play golf. For those of you who read weekly, you might remember an article I wrote called “PLAY Golf Young One,” in which I highlighted many reasons why youth should take up golf as a sport. To jog your memory a few reasons where that golf: “Promotes cooperative behavior, helps develop locomotive skills, promotes problem-solving behavior, aids in eye-hand coordination, promotes patience, promotes logical thinking, promotes self-development, develops competitive spirit, promotes sportsmanship, develops cardiovascular fitness, promotes group interaction, promotes physical development, and most importantly, helps to develop self-reliance and self-confidence.

With that knowledge re-established, I wanted to write a more constructive article on exactly how to get your junior started in golf. I get the same question asked to me again and again, “How do I get my junior started in golf?”

So, how do you get your junior started in golf? Almost every golf course that I know of provides some sort of junior instruction but finding what is right for your junior golfer can be a bit trickier. While I can’t speak for every course, I can speak of some programs that I run here in Ashland. There are two ways to start, let me explain them both and then you will decide what best fits your child and current situation.

  1. Junior Camps: Camps give your child an immersion into the game, they are 5 days in length for 90 minutes each day and are based around games, challenges, and learning the skills needed to play the game of golf. Camps are age specific, so we create the appropriate games and coaching to ignite passion as your child sees that golf can be fun and easy to learn. Clubs are provided! All you need to do is drop your child at camp and the rest is up to us. Camps run all summer long. There are free camps and paid options… (Only difference being child to teacher ratio)
  2. Junior Coaching: Junior coaching is year-round (during the golf season), and your child can start at any time. The programs are in the afternoon and are 90 minutes each week. Your child can start at any time and their program is 12 weeks in length. The programs are based on age (5-8) & (9-12) are put in teams based on skill & experience. They don’t have to have clubs to start but as they start to enjoy the game we will suggest the clubs that will fit them best and best places to purchase them. The advantage to the junior coaching is the ability to start at any time and your welcome to come out to a free session to try it out!

You will notice one thing that is absent from the list of options, and that is private instruction. While private lessons have their place, I do not believe they do with junior golfers, and here is why.

The philosophy is based on the student becoming more independent after each session as they learn the 4 key areas of the game. They are leaning the mindset and mental focus for golf; this includes how to score and manage the course, how to analyze their play and create purposeful practice routines that promote long-term development, and skill development which focuses on the skill sets needed to accomplish their goals for golf.

We coach juniors as an Individual in a team environment. Each of our juniors is taught the skills and techniques based on his or her strength & mobility, their learning style, and their desired outcome. The team environment is so productive for several key reasons:

  1. It creates the right environment to learn the life skills and core values we teach
  2. It allows your junior to build friendships in an individual game
  3. It allows coaches to create competition and challenges that motivate the players
  4. It enables your child to take leadership or mentoring roles to develop interpersonal skills
  5. It increases the hours your child can spend with their coach while not increasing the expense
  6. Its reduces the chances of over-teaching & technical overload as we allow the child to apply what they are learning by experimentation and encouraging them to learn and ask questions rather than just be told what do to do.

If you enjoyed this article, and want to learn more about golf for juniors, stay tuned for part two next week!