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.
- 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)
- 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:
- It creates the right environment to learn the life skills and core values we teach
- It allows your junior to build friendships in an individual game
- It allows coaches to create competition and challenges that motivate the players
- It enables your child to take leadership or mentoring roles to develop interpersonal skills
- It increases the hours your child can spend with their coach while not increasing the expense
- 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!