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Junior Golf

When to introduce your kids to the game

Tina Mickelson's sonTina Mickelson's son

Parents of young children often ask me when they should introduce their kids to the game of golf and my answer is always the same: NOW! I’m not necessarily suggesting they be signed up for clinics, get fitted for clubs, and start a strict practice schedule. I’m merely suggesting that they are INTRODUCED to the game. That could mean something as simple as just holding a golf club.

I was introduced to the game when I was 18 months old and was saved the frustration of having to officially learn the game at an age where I could get frustrated by it. Thank you, Dad! Young children develop a natural ability for the golf swing much easier than adults. If they are comfortable with holding a golf club early on, it makes officially learning the game much easier when they are older.

It’s important to allow them to develop their own PASSION for the game at THEIR pace, too. Just because Dad loves the game doesn’t mean Junior is going to love it, too. (at least not right now) Some kids are enthralled by the game of golf, some kids could take it or leave it. Doesn’t matter. Let them discover the game on their own and when they are ready to really dive in, they will already have a head start.

The only thing you need to do as a parent is be sure they are not developing any bad habits that will severely impede them later. You can sign your child up for a fun junior clinic at your local golf course to gauge their interest level. (Sometimes the interest level is higher when Mom and Dad are not involved.) If you find that your child really does enjoy the game, be supportive but don’t push. The worst thing I have seen parents do is push their kids so hard they get burned out…..and these were kids with some REAL potential. Parents need to have their OWN relationship with the game while allowing their kids to develop theirs….at their own pace.

Having said that, when my son was stable enough to walk and keep his balance at 14 months, which is when we decided to put a club in his hand. Some days he would use it as a pointer, a baseball bat, a cane, etc. The point was to get him comfortable with it. Once he developed a true interest for the game, he was already so comfortable with the idea of a golf club that he found developing a natural golf swing to be rather easy. Now he can’t seem to get enough of the game. But there are days when he would rather just stay in his jammies and watch Thomas the Train on television. That’s fine. The golf clubs will be there when that Thomas episode is over.

Tina Mickelson

By Tina Mickelson

Read more from Tina's blog »
Read Tina's column from the February issue of San Diego Magazine »

 

 

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