Friday, May 05, 2006

Golf Basics For Kids

By Hana Lee
When teaching golf to kids, FUN is the name of the game. Throwin all the technical jargon at the beginning and you willeffectively kill a child's desire to learn. Allow a child to“play” golf for enjoyment, and he’ll become a life-long convertof the game!
Hours of practice will only overwhelm a child, so just allowhim or her to practice a little bit at first, say 30 minutes.This will keep motivation for practice high.And it's okay to let them start by hitting the ball hard.That's part of the fun!
Don't worry about their grip right offthe bat. Just have them keep the right hand under the left andthen swing away!I’d also make sure the child keeps his or her feet on theground while following through.
Now, if you want to buy a child's set of clubs, that's fine,but you're likely to do just as well with a used set of women'sclubs. They're lighter and nice for kids. All you need is awomen's 9 iron, a 6 iron, 3-wood and a putter.
Let your child start out with little chipping and puttinggames. This play will help him or her get the feel for the cluband the ball. Kids can bounce the ball off the face of a wedgeand try hitting leaves or twigs.Little contests and games keep motivation high.
Avoid pressureor competition early on. You want your child to enjoy the gameand want to play it every chance they get, not end up soconfused and unfocused that they can't figure out what to doand just quit in frustration.If you’re encouraging, your child will love for you to playalongside of them. Just don't start demanding wins andemphasizing competition, or you'll pop the enthusiasm reallyfast.Children will move along as they're ready.
Letting themprogress at their own pace prevents future burnout. Never makea child play the game, unless he wants to. The game should befun, and a simple joy. Laugh and have a blast yourself!If your child's interest increases, you might consider golfcamp or some private lessons with someone experienced inteaching children.
If you do seek a personal instructor foryour child, watch how the person teaches first. You really wantan encouraging person with a knack for teaching kids.Also, please remember to teach your child the etiquette ofgolf. Little things are very important, like… Don’t talk whilesomeone else is swinging. Don’t step in front of someone whilethey’re swinging. Stand still. Don’t walk in front of someoneelse’s line or through line.
Finally, never criticize. Praise their shots and swings.Encourage them to correct certain moves, but don't dwell onwhat was done incorrectly.If you concentrate on the most important aspects of golf – theenjoyment and the basics – you may end up with a child whorivals you on the range and who enjoys a lifelong love for thegame.
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