How do I get a child started in Golf?

Golf doesn't have to be 18 holes or nine holes or even have to happen on a golf course. Crazy golf as a starting point is kids still playing golf.

One important factor is that in one lesson they are doing at least five different golf activities. Whether smashing a driver, hitting an iron, chipping into a target or putting, one thing that I’ve learnt is that a kid’s attention span is one minute of their lives.

If they’re going to enjoy golf what you can’t do is give them one club and a bucket of balls - 20 years ago that was exactly what happened - now groups are spending short periods of time doing one particular activity. If you're trying to spark their interest try to cover as much golf as possible. They might be able to putt but can’t hit the ball too well at an early stage or vice versa but you have sparked interest in something that they will have liked because they’re good at it. If you are struggling to hit a ball then they’re not going to enjoy it as that’s all they’ve done for the whole lesson.

My lessons are all game based so that means setting challenges and tasks without too much technical instruction. I will add some input with the swing or the grip but it will be very basic, for example I will talk about a hot dog grip rather than anything too traditional. If they are chipping a ball into a bucket as a basic game then I'll tell them to brush the grass to help get the ball in the air but that's as far as I'll go. Also, they've only got seven minutes to do it, as that’s when their attention span will drift, and then we’ll do something else. If you give them a task you should find that they will be more enthusiastic about completing it.

If you go to the range get the smallest bucket of balls and if he/she enjoys it then you can get some more. If you get big bucket then you will might want them to hit them all and they'll have lost interest by the 30th ball, then everyone gets frustrated, the child is told off for not concentrating and things take a downturn.

I remember playing with my son when he was around seven. After four holes he was done, he had done badly on the third hole and he didn’t want to play. So, rather than forcing him to finish the round as I had paid for nine holes, we played one more on the way back to the clubhouse. I do think that I would have run the risk of him never going back had we played on. It has to be a child-centred experience, we did stop but he then came back to it another day.

Andrew Little

I am the head professional and joint owner of Little Golfers and the Clubfourteen golf studio in Surbiton. I?m England?s only Master kids coach as awarded but U.S Kids Golf. I also coach adults of all abilities at the golf studio using the top indoor simulator equipment to capture your data and show you your improvements.

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