Why should children learn to play golf? Some folks would say, to learn life skills; or to develop a great swing; or to win tournaments, or to win a scholarship. These views should be rethought and replaced with: children should learn to play golf simply because it’s a great game that’s fun to play with friends and family.
Of course, playing a game that you love could result in having that game open other doors. However, I have yet to see playing a game for the purpose of anything but simple enjoyment, open other doors. Scholarships, great golf swings, and life skills may be possible outcomes, but they should not be someone’s reason for playing golf or any game.
Golf, as with all sports, is meant to be FUN. Golf is meant to be “played”. Acts of play do indeed improve the capacity for learning. Developmental learning is grounded in the kind of active play that enhances the ability to evaluate and solve problems. When we are learning, long-term progress requires more than simply remembering information. Studies from modern science not only support this view; they suggest that learning golf, more than any other sport, can accomplish this goal. Acts of “play” support progress in schools, and progress in the real world. “PLAY” thought of as an acronym could then mean “Powerful Learning About Yourself.”
Playing golf has many benefits. Learning and Playing 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.
Golf today is also easier to gain access to as a child. In the past, golf was thought of to be a rich mans game. Many golf courses were private and thought to be far too expensive to even try. Courses today offer special (significantly lower priced) memberships for junior golfers. Some golf courses even offer junior clinics at little to no cost, so children can learn the game and enjoy playing it. I personally developed many great friendships and relationships on the golf course growing up. Many of which I still call close friends today.
Another program developed recently has been Drive, Chip, and Putt.
Now in its fourth year, the program aims to help younger generations begin their lifelong connection with golf by providing a fun, interactive platform for participants of all skill levels. This free initiative welcomes boys and girls ages 7-15 to participate in separate divisions in four age categories. Local qualifying will take place throughout all 50 states. Top performers at the local level will advance through sub regional and regional qualifiers. The top 80 performers – 40 boys and 40 girls – will earn an invitation to Augusta National on Sunday, April 2, the eve of the 2017 Masters. The nearest local qualifier in Wisconsin is located in Stevens Point on July 12, 2016. If you are interested in competing contact your local golf course, or visit www.drivechipandputt.com for more information.
Golf simply is a game, and should be treated as such. It should be played because it is fun to play, and you can play your entire life. No matter your age, skill level, race, or gender, all are welcome. In the process you may learn a thing or two. You may also meet some friends who will be friends for life, connected through the game of golf.
-Matthew Lindberg, PGA