Preparing for a Future in Golf

 

How to Help Juniors Become Great Golfers

 

By: J.L. Lewis

 

May 2009

 

 

A child born with the aptitude to perform at a high level in a sport possesses a true gift that should be developed.  All children, whether they have natural ability or simply show interest in the game can become good at sports when amply nurtured to enhance the further development of their skills. I am often asked, “What should I do with my son or daughter to help them become better golfers?” The following suggestions come from a lifetime of experiences that I believe will help juniors at all ages to reach their golf potential when they maintain a positive attitude and good work ethic. 


With all beginners, it is important to start with proper equipment and good fundamentals. Go to a local club fitting center and get clubs that fit your child. Make sure that  the initial instruction received by your beginner is correct. Purchase the “Golf Tips from the Tour: Pocket Pro” to enhance your understanding of the basic fundamentals of golf and the key shots, drills, fixes, and mental routines needed to assist and guide your aspiring golfer. As they get older, they will be able to take this guide with them to the practice range and to the golf course for assistance with their game. With an understanding of these keys, it will also be easier to find a good golf professional for additional instruction, if needed.


Ages 5 – 7


Provide your child with junior length golf clubs that fit their size.   Make sure they learn the fundamentals of golf starting with a proper grip and an on-balance swing.  Have your youngster hit full shots off the tee with a 7-iron until they are able to make solid contact with the ball every time. Then, move on to hitting balls off the ground.   Have your child spend as much time on chipping and putting as they do on full swings.  A cross-handed grip is good for putting and produces consistent ball contact.  Teach a cross handed putting grip and have them continue to use this grip, if it is easy for them.  Most kids will grip the club cross-handed naturally, at least some of the time. 


After your aspiring golfer is a fairly proficient ball striker on the practice range, start them playing two holes from the ladies tees and emphasize playing by the rules, proper etiquette, and speed of play. If they learn these qualities when they first begin it will become a part of their game and integrate into other areas of their life.

 

Ages 8 – 10


Begin to talk to your junior  about course management.  Club selections off the tee and through the green should be addressed on a regular basis.  Review the fundamentals of grip, stance, ball position, posture, and alignment at least once a week. This is a good time to begin organized competition and develop a steady practice routine.

 

Ages 11 – 18


Once your child has been introduced to the game, their work ethic and talent level will determine how good they become.  Emphasize the importance of focusing on the intended result on each shot  and a positive mental attitude.  If they are first starting the game, go through the steps that were mentioned in the younger age groups while slowly introducing each area of the game to them and monitoring their progress.


It is good for kids to play other sports to develop coordination. Have them play many different sports if they are interested and do workout programs designed for golfers in order to help them see the best results in their golf game. My father and I spent a lot of time in the yard pitching the baseball or throwing the football.  I am certain that the constant practice carried over into my golf game. It is unlikely that I would have become a successful professional golfer without the help of my parents and their support of athletics.

 

The lessons children learn from golf go beyond what happens on the course and will carry over into life and the choices they make for their futures. They learn ethics, etiquette, self governing of rules, respect  for themselves and others, as well as competitive skills they will need for the rest of their lives. Be sure to give your children all the opportunities you can. They will be forever grateful, more successful, and better citizens. To assure that you provide your child with the correct instruction, purchase a Pocket Pro and follow the illustrated lessons from the fundamentals to proper techniques and drills that when learned at a young age will stay with them throughout their career.