When Is The Right Time To Start Your Child In Golf?

Hello Golf Friends:

My dad first started me playing golf at 8 years old.  He stuck a club in my hand and said "Hit it".  I did and I'm still hitting it today.

When is the right time to start your child in golf?  It's a question I've been asked many times.  There is no specific age and my youngest student currently is four years old.  In my view two things need to be in place:

  1. They need to be strong enough to handle the golf club; to be able to swing it back and forth without losing balance or spinning around after each shot due to the weight and motion of the club.  Do they need to hit it every time?  NO!  They need to control the club; not let the club control them.
  2. They need to show an interest in golf and learning golf.  After all, golf is a game.  It's meant to played and enjoyed.  

How long should a lesson be?  That depends on interest and endurance.  Junior lessons I give range from 20 minutes to an hour.  I never want the child to feel like it is work; It should always be fun.  Having been a professional educator for 24 years and with my experience in Junior golf (lessons, camps, clinics and HS coaching) , I can easily tell when a child has had enough.  We don't want to push that child past the limit of where it is enjoyable and fun.  More, is not necessarily better.  In this case, and in every case for lessons and practice, QUALITY IS BETTER THAN QUANTITY!  Don't destroy gains made by extending anyone past their limit of physical and mental endurance.  IT HAS TO BE FUN FOR THE CHILD to maintain that high interest level and develop a true passion that will carry on for years to come!

My Junior Golf Beliefs:

  • Make it fun and grow it into a passion.
  • Understand the mental and physical endurance of the child.
  • Vary the lessons (putting, chipping, full swing).
  • Communicate with the child and show interest in them as a person, not just a golf student.
  • Incorporate games and challenges.
  • Find other kids that they can take lessons with, go on the course with.
  • Make it a positive experience for parents and children; an activity they can share with each other.
  • Invest in instruction, not equipment (they grow out of it too fast).
  • Take your child to executive courses to begin with (easier, faster, and they can walk) then graduate to the regulation course starting with 4 or 5 holes, then 9 and so on.
  • Take your child to the range as often as possible and just let them hit and have fun with it (challenge them to hit objects, make putts).
  • Teach them the rules and etiquette of the game.
  • AND MOST IMPORTANTLY: ALWAYS BE POSITIVE AND ENCOURAGING!

May your holidays be safe and enjoyable

Paul Meyer
Heritage Isles Golf & Country Club
Tampa FL