Top Reasons Children Should Play Golf
Getting your kids involved in golf at an early age could be one of the best things you can do to set them up for success in all aspects of life. Golf is a great way to get the kids physically active in a safe environment and a sport they’ll love. And the benefits go beyond physical fitness too — it can help with mental and emotional development as well as help develop social and emotional skills that will last their whole lives. One of our favorite things about golf is that anyone can play — whether young or old, tall or short, you can play golf — it doesn’t require a certain physique to start. Additionally, it’s a fun activity the whole family can enjoy together!
Physical Benefits of Golf for Children
All kids need some form of physical activity to keep healthy, and in this modern era of on-demand movies and video games, it’s all the more important to get kids excited about being outside and getting some exercise. There are several important benefits of golf for kids’ health and physical fitness:
- Golf promotes overall physical fitness. Golf is a great introductory sport for kids to get involved in, getting them away from the endless available screen time of TV shows and video games and out in the fresh air. Playing golf strengthens the spine and core muscles, and can encourage children to try other sports and activities too. The physical skills they learn in golf, such as hand-eye coordination, can carry over and help them succeed in other sports and develop lifelong healthy exercise habits. Adding in other activities later like yoga, strength training or swimming can help a golfer improve endurance and balance — ultimately helping their golf game too.
- Golf is a low-intensity and non-contact sport. A low-intensity workout is a great place for kids to start as it won’t over-tax their small, growing bodies. This low-impact activity still provides vital cardiovascular exercise that promotes overall health and staves off obesity. Golf courses are safe, positive spaces, and the sport is gentle, with little chance of major injury. Unlike other popular kids’ sports such as football and hockey, where there’s a higher chance of tackling injuries and concussions, golf is a relatively safe sport for kids to play. However, kids should still take care of their bodies and stretch before playing a round of golf.
- Golf cultivates a love of nature. The game gets kids outside, breathing in the fresh air and enjoying the sunshine. Most golf courses are meticulously maintained and beautifully landscaped, allowing anyone who plays to enjoy the beauty of the trees and flowers on-site, as well as a wide variety of birds and other animals that live in and around the courses.
- Playing golf benefits vision. One of the consequences of our modern era with its prevalence of computer screens, video games and smartphones is that kids, and people of all ages, are developing nearsightedness at a higher rate. A natural way to combat this is with regular outdoor activity and to focus on objects farther away. Golf is a great way to accomplish both of these, helping this issue and preventing the development of nearsightedness in children.
Social Benefits of Golf for Children
Golf is also a great place for children to learn important social skills as well. Learning to be comfortable by themselves, as well as working on the necessary skills to get along with others and build relationships can all come from playing golf. Some of our favorite social benefits of playing golf are:
- Golf can be played alone or in teams. A versatile sport, golf can be played in a variety of ways. Golf can be played alone — great for introverts, quiet concentration, and social development for being more comfortable alone. Golf can also be played with partners or in small groups, building relationships and memories with friends and family. Additionally, golf can be played as a team sport, encouraging team spirit, relationship building and healthy competition.
- Golf fosters friendships. Any sports or clubs for kids can help them make friends, but the nature of golf especially encourages this aspect. Because golf can be played at an easy pace, you can generally carry on a conversation easily while you play. It’s why golf works so well for business meetings. Golfers commiserate with each other over a bad score, encourage each other as they go, and celebrate the good scores together. It’s a great activity to bond over, create memories and build lasting friendships. Kids on golf teams often experience tight bonds and make lifelong friends.
- Golf builds business skills. This may sound funny now, especially if your kids are young and the business world seems very far away. But golf does teach decision-making skills, etiquette, working with numbers, planning and using strategies — all skills that easily translate into marketable skills in business and the work world. Plus, many business-related jobs use golf games as meetings and a way of bonding with clients and co-workers. Anyone who already knows the game has a leg up in the business world later, even if that’s years in the future.
Mental and Emotional Benefits of Golf for Children
There are a surprising number of benefits that golf can provide for kids’ mental and emotional development too. Golf is so much more than just a sport, and it can instill important values that will last a lifetime and help kids at home, school and later in life too. Here are just some of the benefits golf can provide for mental and emotional development:
- Golf teaches responsibility and discipline. There are many rules to the game of golf, but the rules can be introduced slowly to children, at a pace that makes sense to their abilities. But learning the rules of the game teaches children to have self-discipline and follow rules even in other areas of their lives such as at home or at school. Kids also learn responsibility in taking care of and carrying their own equipment and showing up on time, so as to not miss those important tee times.
- Golf teaches honesty. Due to the nature of the game, it would be easy for anyone to cheat a little by moving the ball or adjusting their score, but kids will quickly learn the values of honesty and integrity by playing the right way and doing what’s right — an important lifelong skill.
- Golf encourages quiet time. Naturally introverted or quiet children can really enjoy the quiet of a game of golf, and the nice departure from other louder, rowdier sports events. Golf can have a meditative quality as you focus on your own turn, and quietly wait while others are playing. Learning to be quiet and to appreciate the quiet too, is an important quality to learn for more extroverted or talkative children.
- Golf develops emotional control. For some children — and even some adults — it can be difficult to control the temper after a bad swing or bad game. But the more they play the game, kids will learn to keep their emotions under control and behave with self-control and maturity.
- Golf teaches patience. Playing a game of golf is an excellent lesson in the virtue of patience. Golf is not a fast-paced game, with players often needing to wait patiently for their turn. It can also take a lot of time and practice to see even small improvements in skill levels and golf scores. In fact, golf requires patience to succeed. The patience learned from playing golf can translate to every other aspect of life too.
What Age Is Right to Start Golf Lessons?
With all of these amazing benefits provided by playing golf, you may want to get your child started as soon as possible. But, what is the ideal age to start golf? There is no perfect age, but there are a few things to consider. Etiquette, self-control and especially maturity are some of the most important things to have before a child is ready for the golf course.
All children mature and develop at different rates, so some may be ready to try golf at a very young age, and for others, it may be best to wait a while before trying the sport. Note your child’s normal behaviors and maturity levels, and consider if they are ready for the game. Due to the equipment used in the game, a young child must be mature enough to not attempt to hit anyone or anything with a swinging golf club. They should be able to understand the basic expectations of the game and proper behaviors. Typically, when a child is ready for formal schooling — at about age 5 or 6 — they should be ready to start golf lessons too. But depending on the child’s development, readiness for golf can happen at a younger or older age than this.
If your child is still too young to pick up the game, you can start early with exposure to the game, planting the seeds so they’ll be curious and interested when the time comes that they are ready. Show clips of golf videos, or try a kids toy version of a golf club set to play around with at home. If your local golf course allows it, and your youngster is well-behaved, take them to observe others playing golf or ride around in the golf cart with you while you play a game. If you love the game and show enthusiasm for it, it will surely make an impression. Most importantly, have fun with the game yourself and let your little one have fun without pressure to succeed too early.
How to Encourage Kids to Golf
If you love golf, you may want your children to jump right in to the sport too, but waiting until they are truly mature and ready for golf is key. When they are ready, there is plenty that you can do to encourage their love of the game. Let them explore the game on their own at first, allowing them to ask questions and discover the game at their own pace. Don’t try to correct them or push them too quickly. The most important thing is that you have fun with it. Show your enthusiasm, and laugh off your own mistakes. The fun atmosphere you create will be contagious to your kids.
Communicate to your young golfer on their level. Kneel down so you can look them in the eye and talk gently when teaching them how to play. Simplify the terminology and teach them in ways they will relate to and understand, using shapes, sounds and humor to describe the equipment and strategies of the game.
When your kids are ready for lessons from a professional, make sure to find a great instructor and get them the right equipment. Kids used to learn golf with adult size clubs that were simply cut shorter, however, they were still too heavy and not balanced correctly, leading to kids developing swing problems. Thankfully, today there are clubs specially designed for kids, so make sure that you’ve got the right clubs so your kids learn to swing their clubs correctly and can develop their skills appropriately.
What Are Kids’ Golf Lessons Like?
Golf lessons for kids are generally shorter than adult lessons, to be age-appropriate and fit in with shorter attention spans. A good golf instructor will make learning fun and teach the fundamentals through games and other entertaining methods. The instructor will make sure that a young golfer has the right equipment for their abilities and in the right size. Lessons can be available for one-on-one sessions or small group instruction. Kids’ golf instructors are encouraging while the concepts of golf are introduced in fun, enjoyable ways.
Kid’s Golf Lessons at Colonial Golf & Tennis Club
When your child is ready to start golf lessons, come check out the junior programs at Colonial Golf & Tennis Club. Our junior golf program, led by PGA Head Golf Professional Rick Gibney and Teaching Professional Todd Mowry, provides all the fundamentals of golf in fun, age-appropriate lessons. We’ll introduce all the rules and proper etiquette of the game, while your child builds social skills and makes new friends too. The junior program offers a variety of age and ability groups, starting as early as age 5, as well as parent and child groups so you can learn as a family and be there to personally encourage your youngster along the way. For every member of the family, there are so many reasons to play golf! Check out our junior golf program for more information.