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It's Never Too Early for Youth Golf

It's Never Too Early!

by Nicole Weller

 

I often have people ask how it's possible to teach golf to ages 2-3 and I think there are some unique ways to look at it.  Swimming, soccer, tennis, gymnastics and other sports have opportunities for youngsters, as does pre-school... it's just done in a very different way than what an adult might be used to.  Youngsters ages 2-3 learn very well by observation, through games and Play and with age-appropriate learning tools.  Some say that youngsters don't quite have the attention span for golf but remember, this isn't adult golf, this is a fun way to introduce youngsters to the sport and offer life skills through near-golf experiences.  Adult practice is different than how a 2-3-year-old experiences golf... it's like a high school classroom and one that you would see at an early education pre-school environment. Imagine golf getting a chance to be a part of a youngster's early experience... if golf isn't offered in some form or fashion, it gives other sports a chance to gain their attention and I think golf deserves just as much a chance as other sports!  I speak around the country to LPGA and PGA sections about working with 2-5 and share our Landings Club special offerings and many are very interested in what we do!

As an example, I've included a photo with a typical setup for one of our 2-3-year-old full swing stations. We call them 'Big Hits'  and I love using The Littlest Golfer's First Set clubs (plastic with molded grip technology) before moving youngsters into US Kids Golf clubs.  The First Set clubs are much safer than steel clubs, are lighter and easier to swing and have a fun turtle motif. Here are some other ways we teach early youth golf.

 
  • We use visual aids like our 'Magic Feet' footprints on which to stand.  
     
  • We use safety circle in which they are to remain during any swinging time.
     
  • We start with big lightweight balls.
     
  • We progress to 3" ball pit plastic balls.
     
  • We finish with foam golf balls of standard size.
     
  • We use oversize tees (SNAG Launchpads like in this photo or BirTees) to make it easier to tee up.
     
  • I require one adult (parent or grandparent) with each child and I coach everyone on how to work with each youngster.
     
  • Children may move in and out of activities based on interest.  It's never in their best interest to force them but to offer other activities until they're ready to come back into golf.

We don't make constant adult corrects like what an adult thinks a proper grip is but allow them to explore and experiment with intermittent suggestions (What happens if you switch your grip?).  I've learned that they don't like their hands peeled off the club for correction at this point... that's what works for them right now and they have plenty of time to learn and grow.  Right now, it's about FUN to keep them coming back and again, this is near-golf experiences.  Most youngsters begin cross-handed or reverse-gripped like I did.  They find a way to make it in!  Some like using just one hand and raking the ball.  I'm good with all that, they will find ways to get the ball moving and falling into the hole, with all parts of the club or even their hands - many just love to squat next to the hole and drop the ball in, how fun and to see the smiles and delight on their faces!  I think sometimes we as adults might like the option to just drop the ball right into the hole.


I love teaching our camps, after-school and Holiday camp programs fro ages 2-3, 4-5 and 6+.  If you are interested in learning more about how to get a child or grandchild experiencing golf through Active Start Play, feel free to contact me at 912-695-5211 or nicole.weller@landingsclub.com.
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