(This article first appeared in the September 2012 edition of Golf Canada Magazine)
"Try starting them off by taking away the highly technical aspects of the game. Allow them to go on the course with skills they already possess. I love playing a hole with our juniors where they kick a soccer ball from the tee box to simulate the drive. Their second shot is a Frisbee, third is rolling a basketball. On the green, I love to get them down on their stomachs with a tennis ball and a backwards golf club acting as a pool cue. This version of the game allows young players to understand scoring, course strategy and how to have fun! Slowly introduce golf clubs as they develop the skills in the practice area." -- Jason Glass, strength and conditioning consultant
"We run a great program here at Banff where we teach under-13 kids for two hours on a Tuesday night, then they play nine holes on a Thursday night. Over-13 kids do the opposite. We found this to work the best for keeping students focused and to have fun with their friends. We follow the CN Future Links program and along with their skills challenges we add our own using some creativity – hitting over rubbish bins, milk crates, den caddies, laundry bins, you name it. We try and use as many different objects to hit to or over or under. We have found this approach to be fun and memorable. People can't remember the chipping lesson they just had but they will remember the night they hit it over the laundry bin. We use this to strengthen the skill and help the student remember success. We try and split our students by age but we also overlap with level of skill so the students keep motivated and they can play with their friends. We also purchased the SNAG system and, no question, all students, young and old, love hitting at our instructors who wear the Velcro suit!" -- Simon Jones, Head Professional, Banff Spring Golf Club
TAKE THEM OUT TO PLAY
"Having kids shakes up life in general, but my husband and I decided right away that we weren’t prepared to stop golfing, so we adapted. Car seats fit into golf carts great with the use of bungee cords (of course you have to have permission from the golf course). Our kids had to ride in their car seat in the golf cart until they turned two. "
"At two years old, they got a putter. Then they had to ride in the cart until we got to the green, and if they sat quietly they were allowed to come onto the green and putt. At three years old, they got their first set of clubs and started to hit balls. Once they could get the ball airborne they were allowed to “play”. They had to ride quietly in the cart until we came to the 100-yard marker. When they saw the marker it was time to tee it up right there and play in to the green. They would play a hole here, a hole there until they could play nine holes. Once they could make bogeys from 100 yards or almost get their drive onto the green from 100 yards, they moved back to the 150-yard marker. The thing is; they always come with us, so it’s become part of our family lifestyle. We can be down at Disney World and when we ask them what they want to do for the day, a lot of times the answer is golf."
"With my students, I love using the CN Future Links program, as well as the Long Term Player Development Guide for kids; it helps me guide my students (and my own kids) through the game of golf and what we need to be working on at what age so there are no unrealistic expectations set." -- Shana Kelly, Kelly’s Glen Golf Learning Centre
KEEP IT SOCIAL