3 Tips for Helping Junior Golfers
Golf offers children unparalleled benefits. It is a game that gives life lessons, develops character, fosters friendship and provides a myriad of memories. It can be enjoyed individually and can be loved as a team sport, too!
Golfers give to the game, and the game gives back — it’s a relationship of sorts. Introducing children to the game of golf is truly a gift of a lifetime. Here are three tips for helping junior golfers develop their skills and love for the game:
1. Make golf fun.
For juniors, golf needs to be fun first. Find lessons, camps and programs that teach basic golf skills while fostering the love of the game in a way that is unique to that child. The great thing about golf is that it is a game that welcomes all personality types. If children learn golf fundamentals as a child, have proper equipment, loving support and tons of fun, who knows where their dreams will take them?
2. Set achievement goals.
Understand that there are phases of development and every golfer goes through these phases of learning. To be successful at learning, parents, coaches and the junior have to be in sync. Unfortunately, many talented junior golfers go by the wayside because they were pushed or pulled by well-meaning adults in the process of learning the game. It is vital parents help children set goals that match their child’s interest level and give them the tools needed for the highest probability of success. Personal achievement goals will stimulate quicker improvement.
3. Try team golf.
While golf is an individual game in nature, there are opportunities to play team golf. It might start in an LPGA*USGA Girls Golf Program or a PGA Jr. League and lead to a place on a national team. College golf is team-based and at the professional level no one can deny the excitement and energy that players have playing on either a Ryder Cup or Solheim Cup Team. Golf is always playing against Old Man Par, yet competing for your high school, university or country brings a selfless dynamic to a very self- centered game. Team sports foster valuable friendships and relationships that can last a lifetime. Both celebrating victory with teammates or agonizing with them in defeat create lifetime memories and develop relationship skills that are difficult to acquire.
Employers love to hire athletes because the nature of sport requires self-discipline, perseverance, integrity and camaraderie — all superior character traits that would benefit any career path. Golf is a game like no other and one that transcends all generations.
Jacqui McSorley is an LPGA Golf Professional and instructor at Golf Academy of America in San Diego.