Do you have a child interested in taking up golf, or would you like to see them start playing? This week’s tip, from Nashawtuc Country Club head professional Chris Carpenter, offers parents some suggestions.
“As the golf professional at a vibrant family country club, I have numerous opportunities to answer this question from parents, ‘What do I need to do to get my child into golf?’ After 21 years as a professional, I have crafted the following response:
“Golf is ‘stickiest’ when handed down from parent to child. If the parent does not play or enjoy golf, the child is more likely to only sample the game before moving on to something more in line with family interests. Make time to play and the kids will be eager to join in.
“Once a family gets on the course, parents are tempted to minimize their own participation in an effort to focus on the child. I teach parents how to participate with their children. Otherwise, parents may begin to separate their golf time from the time spent on the golf course with their child. Through fun games, defined responsibilities, objectives for the child, and a bit of patience, families can enjoy a sport that will bring them together for many years.
“Finally, just because a child shows an interest in golf does not mean he or she is ready for instruction. I often hear parents say that a child has ‘fallen in love with golf.’ This is usually not accurate. Fortunately, the child is in love with their parents, and spending time with Mom and/or Dad is the true motivation. Signing a child up for lessons may improve their skill, but unless we teach parents and children how to participate together, the child may just as quickly fall out of love with golf.
“Try this on your next family trip: Play the appropriate tees. Most courses have junior tees to make the game more enjoyable for kids. Feel free to play these forward tees with your child to get valuable practice on your short game. Don’t focus on technique. Set a realistic target score for your child on each hole. Your child will explore possible swing or strategy modifications to achieve the target score. Teach your child how to mark their ball, tend the pin, and play at a brisk pace. Have fun, and you will be playing together for many years to come.’’