If your daughter or son is interested in golf, you might be wondering when is the best time to start the learning process?
It is a good idea for juniors to start learning golf when they are 6 or 7 years old. This is about the time that young minds start developing increased hand-eye coordination enough to be able to understand and perform golf swings.
From my own experience teaching juniors, 6 and 7 years old are the perfect ages where the kids have long enough attention spans to be able to learn a specific concept without running the risk of not retaining any information. (source)
Why Start Early?
Golf is awesome because you can play at any age. My grandfather is approaching 95 and still gets out onto the golf course at least once a week!
However, because golf can be played for an individual’s entire life, it is best to learn the fundamentals when you are young so that wrong habits can be avoided and good muscle patterns can be created.
I run into this problem all the time with some of my older students. They come to me with a golf issue and want it to be cured. I then ask them “how long has this issue been going on?” To which the always respond, “pretty much my whole life!” And to think, if they would have gotten lessons or learned the basics at a younger age, who knows how much better they would have gotten?
Coming from my own teaching experience, it is much more difficult to fix a golf swing problem you have had your whole life than to learn a set of new skills and movements you have not learned before.
Different Ways Juniors Can Learn
There are many different programs that are offered at most golf courses that are geared around junior golf development. Here are several options you can look into at your local golf courses:
- Junior Golf Clinics- These clinics are designed for juniors to come out and learn golf in groups with other juniors around the same age. This is a great option for new beginning junior golfers to get introduced to golf in a stress-free environment with other juniors. The added bonus is that if a junior does several junior golf clinics, they may start to create friendships with other regular students which adds fuel to the learning process.
- Junior Golf Leagues- Another option is for juniors to play and in junior golf leagues. These leagues are generally divided by age and skill level allowing juniors to play golf at a designated time each week. One of the best ways to learn is by playing the game. I recommend junior leagues for juniors that have more experience and ready to play on the course. Here is an example of how a junior golf league is laid out from one of my golf course’s junior programs.
- Snag Golf- In my opinion, this is the perfect option for beginning juniors. Snag golf is a program designed for juniors where they use plastic golf clubs and tennis balls to learn the fundamentals of putting and chipping. It is a great way to teach the game in a fun and informative way the will pique the interest of golf in younger kids. Here is the snag golf website if you are interested in what it is.
- Individual Lessons- Last but not least, new juniors can learn from one-on-one lessons from a golf instructor. The bonus of this option is that the instructor can individualize the lesson for the particular student. So they can spend an entire day on hand-eye coordination drills or balance drills etc. etc. If you are interested in this option, feel free to contact your local golf courses and ask the professional about setting up a personalized lesson for the junior.
What About Golf Clubs?
Here is where things can get a bit tricky. While owning your own set of golf clubs is awesome, for juniors, it can be difficult because of their volatile growth spurts. Especially between the ages of 6-10, there can be significant growth changes that can affect junior’s golf learning if their clubs are too small or large.
Check out US Kids Golf. They offer different sized golf clubs depending on the height of the junior. Their different golf sets allow for small changes in growth (3-4 inches) so parents don’t have to continue buying a new set every few months. My recommendation would be to buy on the larger side. For example if the junior is 53″ look into getting the 54″-57″ inch set. This allows for even more growth change and the difference in the club length is very minimal. We sell these clubs in our pro-shop and which makes the buying process much easier for parents. These sets come with:
- Sand Wedge
- Stand Bag
What to Do As a Parent
As a parent, your job will be to encourage the junior to keep their interest in golf. Here are some of the methods I have seen parents do:
- Take kids to the driving range to hit golf balls
- Let kids ride around in the golf cart
- Take kids to play putt-putt
- Let kids watch golf on TV
- Let the kids take the golf flag out of the hole
- Use plastic golf balls and hit in the backyard
Deciding to introduce your junior to the game of golf is a big commitment. And if you don’t know what to look for, you can end up not only wasting money but turning off the junior’s interest in golf.
So remember to follow these steps discussed in this post and I will get you on the right track towards helping mold the next Tiger Woods! Well, maybe not that, but at least help the junior see if golf is right for them
- Juniors can start playing golf when they are 6-7 years old because their hand-eye coordination is starting to rapidly grow around this age.
- Search local golf course websites and choose a golf program for the junior to start in: Junior golf clinics, junior golf leagues, Snag golf, individual lessons.
- Use US Kids Golf to find a golf set based on the height of the junior.
- Take kids to the golf course, driving range, play putt-putt or chip plastic golf balls in the backyard to encourage learning and engagement in the golf