Ingredients for Junior Golf

Rob Rashell
Director of Instruction
TPC Scottsdale
Scottsdale, AZ

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Summer is sneaking up on us and even though we’re a little warmer than other places, the time out of school gives kids an opportunity to play some golf. I talk to a lot of parents about their kids playing golf and the best way to introduce them to the game. So, here goes.

A place to play or practice
Having a place for your son or daughter to be able to hit some practice balls and play golf is the first ingredient. Talk to the golf courses in your area, find a good spot and get them started. Just because a course doesn’t offer a junior program doesn’t mean you can’t work out a deal with a course. Contact the head professional, tell them what you’d like to do, and ask if you can arrange something. Access to the driving range and golf after 12pm is not a big request in the summer for a small fee.

Most kids don’t want to spend the whole day playing golf by themselves on a hot summer day, fair enough. If they have a group of 4 or even better a group of 8 friends who all like to play, most kids can’t wait to get to the golf course. This also works well for arranging transportation to and from the golf course for your kids and their friends. Maybe the best part of this is a little friendly competition, adding up your score and seeing how you stand against your friends.

Once the first two criteria are met, and if your child has any interest, get them into a tournament and see if they like the atmosphere. Here’s the double edged sword of competitive golf for junior golfers. Your score will be put on the board for everyone to see and to compare against, good or bad. The tough part is framing things for your junior golfer that their score has nothing to do with who they are, how hard they tried, and if they played the game the proper way. Nobody likes finishing last in a golf tournament, I get that, but this can be a very powerful motivator.

As a coach, I could care less what kids shoot in a tournament, what I do care about is assessing what happened, why it happened, and how you get better. This is an invaluable skill that will serve your child well for the rest of their life.

When the number they post on the board starts dropping, and they see the improvement, the feeling can be very addictive. Some people call this an ignitor, a reason for your child to get to the course at the next possible moment.