Golf isn’t a typical sport. Your child will not have to run fast, jump high or have quick reflexes, but will learn lots of other valuable skills.
Requiring focus and concentration, golf is often loved for its variety. No two shots will ever be the same and neither will any two golf courses. This means that your child may find that they have good days and bad days playing golf and have to learn to adapt to different circumstances.
You are never very far from a potential game of golf - with over 3000 courses in the UK! Clubs often have a kids’ club so your child can learn the game surrounded by boys and girls of their own age and/or playing ability. This will teach them a lot of social skills, especially learning to become competitive against friends in a non- aggressive setting.
Golf can also be good for family involvement. A round of golf on a normal course can cater for four people per game. However, if Grandma isn’t interested, she will usually be welcome on the course to drive the buggy if she still wants to get involved! Alternatively, everyone in the family will be able to take part in a putting competition and for the experts, maybe a driving competition or a nearest-the-pin.
Points to consider when choosing a golf coach for your child:
The main achievement that a golfer will earn is their handicap. For junior golfers, a handicap can be allowed to reach 54 but will be reduced to 28 for men and 36 for women as they turn 18 (or 16 in some places). Each time your child finishes a round of golf, their scorecard can be handed into the course’s clubhouse and they will work out what your child’s handicap should be based on their previous scores. The two key milestones for your child to achieve are first to become a bogey golfer, by having a handicap of 18, and then becoming a scratch golfer, by having a handicap of 0. However this is no easy achievement as scratch golfers often then turn pro!
Many golf clubs will have their own grading system for their junior clubs to keep track of the kids’ progress. This may include a system of achievement levels that progress through red, yellow, green, bronze, silver gold, for example. The achievements they are able to complete will be reflected in the level that they are at and their playing ability.
A handicap is also a good indicator of the ability level of the coach. Most coaches will be scratch golfers, but of course this does not necessarily mean they are the best at coaching your child.
A qualified golf teacher must have a level 3 diploma recognised by the WGTFGB and have attended a number of additional training courses in various disciplines such as junior golf and club fitting.
Golf is a very traditional game with manners and etiquette at its heart. Coupled with focus and concentration, Golf is a very relaxing sport that places a lot of emphasis on social and mental development rather than physical. However, golf can also be very physically demanding. By spending hours in the sun (or rain) carrying round a bag full of golf clubs, your child’s endurance will be tested!
Tiger Woods (born December 30, 1975) – Eldrick Tont Woods (more commonly known as “Tiger”) is amongst the most successful golfers of all time. He has achieved a career grand slam 3 times by winning all the major tournaments in the same year. Woods took up golf before the age of 2 years old and went on to win a number of youth competitions.
Jack Nicklaus (born January 21, 1940) has won the most major golf titles in the history of the game. He has also won over 100 titles in total making him the 3rd all-time high achiever. He took up golf at the age of 10 and also enjoyed American football and basketball. He is now on the Champions Tour (for retired players) and doing very well even at over 70 years old.
Rory McIlroy MBE (born May 4, 1989) has been described as the Woods of the current generation of golf. He has had 7 tournament wins including 2 majors, which has seen him to world no. 1.
Samuel L Jackson (born December 21, 1948) – According to the Guinness Book, he is the highest grossing actor of all time. However he still makes time for a good round of golf to help him wind down between filming.
I was introduced to golf by my family as most of them, including my brother, parents and 3 of my grandparents played. They gave me some taster sessions on short courses using borrowed golf clubs but soon enrolled me in a few junior clubs. I learnt a lot about etiquette that could be used in everyday life. This also gave me a good temperament for all sports so that whether I won or lost, I didn’t mind as long as I was improving. Getting up every Saturday morning whether it was rain or shine was also a good lesson in resilience, too but I soon fell in love with the sport and was always itching to get on a course whatever the weather.