Junior Golf Instruction - When Should They Start?

By: Brad Myers

A question we hear all of the time is "When should we start junior golf instruction for our junior golfer?" Obviously, there is no real answer. For example, you have Tiger that started at the tender age of three and other successful tour players started their junior golf instruction much later. With many differing opinions are out there about when to begin junior golf instruction, you must remember that opinions are like belly buttons and everyone has one! Hale Irwin was once quoted as saying, "If a parent brings a young child to a Pro and says I want him/her to be a Golf Professional, chances are they won't be." The two most important part to the answer the question of "When should we start golf lessons for our junior golfer?" is that no matter what age your junior golfer is to make sure golf is something the junior golfer wants to do and to keep it fun for them.

First, you need to ask yourself some questions about what your motivation might be for getting junior golf instruction? Typically, there are four reasons that parents want junior golf instruction for their young child (under eleven):

1. Because of golf's reputation for rules, fair play and self-policing, the parents have a genuine interest in seeing their children attempt to play the game.

2. A babysitting service, parents get a time out from their kids for a while.

3. Parents want to spend more time with their child and have decided that golf will be the vehicle to do this.

4. As so many do, parents feel that their children must be in as many activities as possible.

Again, whatever the reasons, the important thing is to let the kids have fun, enjoy themselves and let them decide for themselves whether they want to play the game of golf or not.

Regardless of how brilliant parents think their child is, young children (under eleven) do not have the attention spans. However, they do like to have fun and to some hitting balls is fun. As soon as you make it a chore by hovering over them with instructions, they will not want to play the game anymore. Think about it, would you?

If you want your youngster to enjoy golf, then don't force the action. If they want to hit balls, let them. If they want to pick golf balls up and throw them, as long as they will not disturb anyone else, let them. If they want to hit their ball into the bunker, let them. When you think about it, a bunker is much smaller than the green and in theory, much harder to hit. Depending on their age, let them tee it up from 100 yards or 150 yards. Again, keep it a positive experience and fun for the junior golfer.

If you do decide to take junior golf instruction the Golf Professional should concentrate mainly on short game, putting chipping etc. The Golf Professional should show you as well as your junior many different games that you can play to keep it fun. In the meantime, the games will instill solid fundamentals which will help you and your junior to improve!

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