Any tips on getting a youngster started?

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Post by graeme on Sun Feb 13, 2011 10:09 pm

I occasionally ask my son if he'd like to play golf and the other day he actually (finally!) said yes. He's well aware that I play (just not how badly) and is now used to me commandeering the TV at any spare moment when the golf is on and will always point out a golf course as we drive past one (they're littered willy nilly around this corner of Fife!).

He's 4 and as such I don't think getting him a lesson would be a good starter. I can get hold of a wee club and was thinking of taking him to the range with me and giving him a/some target(s) to aim at and just gently work on getting him to swing slowly and smoothly and hopefully making the odd half decent contact.

Those are my very basic thoughts but I wondered if the knowledgeable folk of 606v2 have any experience, tips or ideas of how to make it fun and relatively successful? I'm not looking for a 30 yard draw but would oviously be delighted if he just enjoyed it and wanted to go again. Then I can begin planning his career ;-)

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Post by oldshanker on Sun Feb 13, 2011 10:45 pm

Graeme - that was about the age that my Dad put a cut down club in my hand. I used to follow him round the course and try to mimic his shots. He would put a ball down for me and tell me to copy what he did and then point me towards the hole. Mind you, he was an ex pro, so I was copying a pretty damn good swing. Smile

However, There was no pressure from my Dad and it was fairly sporadic. At 4 I do not think most kids are sufficiently well built to just go down the range and hit a bucket of balls. Maybe if he were to go with you and hit a few off a tee so he would have a chance to get them airborne and build it up that way. There will not be that many targets at the range he will be able to reach, but if your local range has a putting area that you can chip on to, nearest the hole from 30ft away with a 7 iron, is something he might actually be able to beat Dad at occasionally (the practice will not do you any harm either). :friend:
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Post by LondonJonnyO on Sun Feb 13, 2011 10:47 pm

get him that gator golf game and teach him to putt.
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Post by Maverick on Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:10 pm

LJ's idea is a very good one.

I have a few little ones (4 to be exact as most on here rib me for). But of my brood I have a 5 year old son whom Mrs Mav bought that game for at Christmas and he and my 4 year old daughter are addicted it gets an outing every day and they have become very competitive over it and honed a nice little stroke each. My daughter now asks to stay up and watch golf with daddy, my son loves putting but not watching yet he's a 5 year old boy what can you expect.

It has led me to buying them a little set each from american golf, My mrs brings them down to the club after my round on a Saturday morning and we go on the practice ground for 20mins and play games where I put a ball bag down and get them to try to hit it from about 20yards each ball that hits it earns a sweet. Then we go on the putting green for another 20mins and play a game where we putt from 10 feet to but not to a hole they play football golf where we make a little goal with tee pegs and each putt the get through earns another sweet. Always trying to think of new games for them as they enjoy it.

I've found that the 20mins is long enough to enjoy it and not get bored as if they find it fun they'll come back and want to keep doing it, if they decide on the day they don't want to then I don't make them as it needs to be fun. But after only a month or so they are getting more hooked.

Good luck as long as its fun they will love it

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Post by graeme on Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:40 am

great ideas there guys. many thanks. i was thinking that we could go right to the end of the range and put something out there for him to aim at. the chipping green ideas are good and i'd certainly benefit too! definitely want to tee it up to encourage him, good thought. it's all about making it fun and getting sweets is always a winner!

he's got a little plastic play set which he and his 2 year old sister batter plastic balls around the house and garden with but i felt we could move on to real balls to see how it felt for him.

now i'm off to google that gator game! thanks guys, much appreciated. i'll let you know what he makes of his first trip to the golf centre.

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Post by MustPuttBetter on Mon Feb 14, 2011 12:27 pm

Graeme, i wouldn't go right to the end of the range. That's where most people will be hitting their drives to, and having your 4 year old hit by a golf ball won't go down well at home. Stay in the bays is my advice :friend:
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Post by graeme on Mon Feb 14, 2011 12:49 pm

well, not the opposite end of the range MPB (although it is apparently 400yds long) but just to one of the bays on either end! there's also a pretty good set of practice greens we can use too with plenty of fairway length areas around them.

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Post by MustPuttBetter on Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:16 pm

Ha ha, good man thumbsup
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Post by liegerwoods on Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:53 pm

my advice is to teach him how to grip the club. that was the first thing i tought lyle. hes 4 yr old 5 this march and has an awesome swing. he has played since he was 2 and the thing i noticed was how his swing changed when he went to a cut down club. the heavier club really affected his swing and it took him a long time to want to play again. we go out fairly regular and he can put very well with the cut down ping answer. i figured give him a good putter and he might stick with it all his days...just change the shaft as he grows.


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Post by sharrison01 on Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:50 am

I'm afraid that I disagree about giving any specifics to a child that is just starting out. The most important thing is for a child to enjoy the game and when you start talking about grip, stance etc then it is far less fun than just saying "hit it at that flag and putt it in the hole."

I would try to keep it as fun as possible and not even consider going to a driving range but instead find a practise green that you can use. This would then mean that you can get him to actually put the ball in the hole which is, after all, the most important thing and for him it will provide a much more fun and rewarding game than just hitting off a range mat. You can then take it further as he enjoys it more by making it competitive as he will be as likely to get up and down as you are when you take distance away. This would then add an element of pressure and competition that will be invaluable as he gets older.

He will spend his whole golfing life working on his swing, stance, posture, grip etc so at this age just give him the chance to fall in love with the game. As he gets older and better, he will naturally want to work on specifics to get better (and beat his dad!) but at this age telling him what to do will only make it less interesting.

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Post by liegerwoods on Wed Feb 16, 2011 4:55 pm

i agree about not using the driving range....its just not golf really....in fact i dont use driving ranges if i can help it. kids usually love putting i know my son does. i take him on to the course as often as i can but please dont assume that i beat him with a stick untill he gripped it properly.kids are smart and i showed him and he got it. if he didnt i wouldnt make a fuss but if you try and teach a good grip and they get it straight away then that is only a good foundation other than that i agree sharrison

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Post by graeme on Mon Feb 28, 2011 5:35 pm

we picked out a couple of clubs for him today (7 and a putter) and went to the practice facilties at st andrews. he actually managed to clatter a few with a nice "crack" to the contact. i was pretty impressed. we went right to the end of the range (side, not far ;-)) where there's a close mown section and plenty of space to set up a few things to aim for.

the best thing is that he really enjoyed it and wants to go back. i didn't force an overlapping or interlocking on him at the moment but tried to get him to hold a close baseball grip. when he stood the right distance away and slowed it down, he could hit some nice little shots.

we'll be back soon as it's all short game practice for me too!

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Post by oldshanker on Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:30 pm

Sounds ideal graeme - and he can also practice little chips onto a green with the seven iron. Glad he enjoyed himself and I hope that you did too. thumbsup
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Post by graeme on Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:48 pm

i thought the 7 was about right to get started with. enough loft to get it up in the air and once he gets the hang of it, it will still feel like it's going somewhere.

we were blessed with a gorgeous day up here today. it was a joy to be out playing golf with my (not so) wee boy!

now to get hold of one of those putting games the guys above referred to. the facilities are pretty good, so plenty of variety to keep him interested. can't wait to get out with him again. and it means i don't feel guilty about disappearing off to practice again!

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Post by LondonJonnyO on Tue Mar 01, 2011 9:14 am

http://www.argos.co.uk/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Search?storeId=10001&catalogId=1500002701&langId=-1&searchTerms=GATOR+GOLF

There you go Graeme

Going to get one of those myself for when the slug is old enough to hold a club. I think about 6 months.
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Post by graeme on Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:28 am

good man LJ, there's an argos about 50 yds from our shop, so i can reserve it and nip over.

i'm surprised you're waiting until 6 months.

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Post by LondonJonnyO on Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:30 am

At the moment we're focusing on fetching balls that I'm putting across the carpet. Then we can move onto fetching balls on a putting green. Then, when he can stand and move the putter, it'll be time for this. Along with some putting on my clubs practice green and coming out on the course with me for a walk/ride in a buggy while I play 4 or 5 holes.
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Post by McLaren on Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:20 pm

Get them to the point of no return.
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Post by graeme on Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:40 pm

McLaren wrote:Get them to the point of no return.


mwaahahahaaaa. that'll be the first crisply struck shot out of the sweet spot that goes twice as high and twice as far as anything previously struck but seemed to happen without trying... a revelationary feeling and one i'd consider to be the point of no return!

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Post by McLaren on Tue Mar 01, 2011 4:49 pm

It is so true that the feeling of a good shot becomes an addiction.
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Post by graeme on Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:51 pm

the gator golf putting game has been purchased. i think i might have to test it in the shop this afternoon!

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Post by Maverick on Sat Mar 05, 2011 4:22 pm

Well took 2 of my brood out to the par 3, 9 hole municipal course today, my 5 year old lad shot 55 using a set we borrowed of my brothers lad. My 11 year old daughter who has shown no interest in golf whatsoever until 3weeks. Ago went round in 46strokes.

I have given no instruction to them other than a club that has a grip that shows them how to hold it, both use the baseball grip as its comfortable for them and I shall not be changing it and the only other thing I've said is hit it as hard as you can. They can learn to straighten it up later, that's what I was taught and some Jack Nicklaus himself advocates so good enough for me.

Was amazed how they both took to it. My boy wanted to play another 9 but don't want to over golf him so young and my daughter truly amazed me with a fluid golf swing when asked why she wants to start playing after having no interest
She just said she'd been watching some lady called Seng on tv and liked how it looked (that'd be Yanin seng not a bad role model)

They want to go out again next week and if they enjoy it again and my 11year old wants to I'll look at membership for her only 75quid for the year. I was amazed how she hit it after only 3 sessions on the range and her scores were great

As for my 5 year old lad, 55 shots over nine holes I was astonished he gave it a rip and is now on his alligator. Putting game.

I've never been more proud than today

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Post by graeme on Sun Mar 06, 2011 11:36 am

that's fantastic mav. your 5 year old could just about get a handicap in some european countries where the max is 54. wow!! pretty flippin impressive from your daughter too. we'll be out tomorrow for a bit more whacking action :-)

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Post by Maverick on Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:07 pm

I too was very impressed with both of them. There scores and way they hit the ball were fantastic. I'm just back from my sunday morning game with a few guys at the club and I've been marched straight back out by both of them to the driving range the wife's demanded I take them as they've been pestering her all morning for me to take them I can see this becoming expensive! But very worth it

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Post by McLaren on Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:09 pm

Has anyone else noticed that in most clubs there are very few or in fact no junior girls. Is this a new thing or has this always been the case, I just know that when I was a kid there were pretty much no girls playing at any of my clubs.
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Post by liegerwoods on Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:35 pm

mac..

today at the darley course in troon the sgu are hosting a winter order of merit event and the place is swarming with juniors and many of them are girls. big turnout of spectators today aswell. the place is wall to wall galvin green/underarmour......the parents must be loaded.

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Post by Maverick on Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:58 pm

Mac

None when I was a junior either at our club my brother and I were members at.

That's the only thing for my daughter is that she seems to now love it and is a complete natural but no junior girls at local clubs! She won't mind one bit competing against boys but that still makes it harder based on as juniors you get a circle of friends and if there's no girls she may start to lose interest so I'm going to hunt round for somewhere for her with some girls

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Post by LondonJonnyO on Mon May 30, 2011 11:30 pm

Going back to this frm a while ago... Mini-LJ is now up and about... and investigating my putter (I think he likes the purple flowers on the grip myself).

Anyway. He took hold of the grip with both hands for the first time yesterday (at 13 months and 18 days old I have to say). It's a very thin grip I use and he put his hands on it in a pretty good replica of how I hold the putter. I was a bit stunned... more so when he tried to move the putter back and forth! A bit long and heavy for him so I've been out today... he is now the proud owner of a gator golf game of his own!

I don't expect any holed putts. But the living room is now his ball bashing playground. Yahoo
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Post by graeme on Tue May 31, 2011 10:58 am

now is the time to put any breakable objects of value out of reach of an extended backswing or follow through...

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Post by LondonJonnyO on Tue May 31, 2011 10:59 am

graeme wrote:now is the time to put any breakable objects of value out of reach of an extended backswing or follow through...

Far too late for that to happen.
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Post by graeme on Tue May 31, 2011 11:04 am

i know that at that age, mini clubs in our house were swung with incredible randomness but much enthusiasm in all directions.

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Post by LondonJonnyO on Tue May 31, 2011 11:05 am

Actually I was thinking more of myself after he's long since gone to bed.... But fair point also. Doh
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Post by graeme on Tue May 31, 2011 11:08 am

heh heh, know that feeling. not broken anything but have received a couple of b0ll0ckings for over-enthusiastic chipping practice after a bottle of wine...

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Post by raycastleunited on Mon Jul 25, 2016 1:00 am

Maverick wrote:Well took 2 of my brood out to the par 3, 9 hole municipal course today, my 5 year old lad shot 55 using a set we borrowed of my brothers lad. My 11 year old daughter who has shown no interest in golf whatsoever until 3weeks. Ago went round in 46strokes.

Was amazed how they both took to it. My boy wanted to play another 9 but don't want to over golf him so young and my daughter truly amazed me with a fluid golf swing when asked why she wants to start playing after having no interest
She just said she'd been watching some lady called Seng on tv and liked how it looked (that'd be Yanin seng not a bad role model)

They want to go out again next week and if they enjoy it again and my 11year old wants to I'll look at membership for her only 75quid for the year. I was amazed how she hit it after only 3 sessions on the range and her scores were great

As for my 5 year old lad, 55 shots over nine holes I was astonished he gave it a rip and is now on his alligator.  Putting game.

I've never been more proud than today

After reading the nostalgia on the other thread I had to have a little search to entertain myself.

5 years old, first round of golf, shoots 55 for 9 holes. Haha

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