How to Get Kids Involved in The Game!
My parents started myself and my older brother, Paul, in golf at an early age. We had Wilson Sam Snead Blue Ridge clubs that were too heavy and too tall for us. We didn’t know it though. They were awesome. There weren’t any “real” junior clubs back then. Cut down clubs were normal back then. Now we have US Kids clubs and many others that help the junior golfers get the ball in the air. Lots of low missiles with those old Sam Snead clubs.
We started at Braemar Golf Course in Edina, Minnesota. That’s right Minnesota! Braemar had a practice range, practice green, 9-hole par 3 course and an 18-hole course. A great public facility that had it all. My parents, Daryl and Diane, put us in a junior program at Braemar. We loved it. The golf pro started us with good fundamentals. Grip, stance, posture etc… Start with the short shots and work back. Like all the kids I just wanted to hit the driver and see how far it could go. We learned to play on the 9-hole course as well. Etiquette…manners on the course. We had to learn how to respect the golf course, respect players in our group and be aware of others on the course. The golf pro didn’t want us to hold anybody up. Imagine that…be aware of others and respect their space.
We graduated junior golf by playing 9 holes on the par 3 course, finishing in 1 ½ hours (wow) and keeping a score. All while having three other players in a group with us and walking. It was hit the ball and go, but don’t get in front of anybody– or else! That was so much fun. We got to hit balls, play golf and hang out with other kids who wanted to do the same thing. We would do that then go to the pool in the afternoon. Baseball and soccer practice would come after that in the evening. Those were the days.
Golf has always been part of my life. I was born in Fargo, ND (Go Bison!). We moved to Edina when I was very young. We moved back to Fargo before I was in 5th grade. In Fargo, we had Edgewood Golf Course. Golf in the summer. Tube the hills in the winter. The clubhouse was the winter warming house for the tubers and cross country skiers. Milkshakes in the summer and then hot chocolate in the winter. We moved to Louisville, KY right before my sophomore year in high school. Long Run Golf Course and Seneca Golf Course became our new golf home. The summer of ’85 we moved to Springfield, MO. Grandview Golf Course is where most of my days were spent with my brother. It is now Bill and Payne Stewart Golf Course. Everywhere we moved the first thing we did was look for a golf course. It was a family activity for us. I remember the first time I beat my dad, my mom and my brother. I think my dad and mom wanted me to beat them, but my brother still won’t admit that I have ever beat him. We had great times on the course as a family.
I have always been grateful to my parents for starting me in golf. Golf has helped me learn many valuable life skills and taught me many lessons over the years. I met my beautiful wife through golf. I have had the opportunity to introduce my three children to golf. They all love it in their own way. Hopefully I will get the chance to show their children the game and get them involved in golf.
I could go on and on about golf and the value of the game to me. Let’s find a way to get your children and grandchildren in the game!
Make no mistake about it, getting your kids involved in golf will be one of the greatest and most valuable gifts
you will ever give them!
Here is why-
My friend Andrew Wood started this Top Ten list. I modified it a little bit.
1. Anyone Can Play: Golfers come in all shapes and sizes. You don’t have to be particularly strong, tall, lean or fast to succeed. Golf champions come in every shape and size imaginable. It’s never too early to start, and unlike most other sports, you can enjoy golf your entire life!
2. Minimal Risk: Unlike many other popular sports like baseball, soccer, and Football, the chances of injury, especially serious injury, are almost non-existent; golf is a non-contact sport.
3. Safe and positive environment: The golf course is a safe place and facilitates mentoring relationships.
4. Lifelong friendships: You never know who you will meet on a golf course, but it’s one of the easiest places in the world to make friends. Success breeds success and people who play golf are by in large more successful than the average bear. Those are the people you want your kids hanging out with! Best of all, golf creates a unique bond so those friendships can be developed all over the world and last a lifetime!
5. Prepare for business: It’s hard to think about it now but kids grow up and the people they meet as children can play a huge part in their success later in life. Golf is a sport that helps prepare kids and teens for careers in business and other professional arenas. Even at 12, I was learning about real life business every day from all the adults I played with.
6. Time Spent Outdoors: In today’s world of video games, smartphones, and child obesity, it can be hard to drag your son or daughter off the couch. Golf is the perfect excuse to spend an entire day enjoying nature and presents the opportunity to develop healthy lifelong exercise habits!
7. Important Life Lessons: Golf closely parallels real life as one experiences the highs and lows of the game. The range of experience, from birdies to bogeys, rewards a young person’s ability to keep each shot in perspective, manage one’s emotions, maintain a positive outlook and focus on the shot at hand. Golf is a sport that will teach your child things like integrity, discipline, and respect. As they learn to conduct themselves on the golf course, these lessons will translate directly into everyday life.
8. College Scholarships: Avid golfers have a lot of opportunities when it comes to college funding. The earlier your child starts, the greater his or her chance is of gaining access to scholarship money.
9. Spend time with family: Golf is a game that encourages family participation. When children are young, they enjoy doing just about anything with you (but it doesn’t long last so start now). Golf is an opportunity for quality bonding time and it’s one that can last a lifetime.
10. It’s FUN: This should probably be at the top of the list, but one of the best reasons to get your son or daughter involved with golf is that they’ll have an absolute blast. They’ll have the chance to learn new skills both physical and mental, make new friends, and discover new opportunities.
There are a million things you can buy your kids or gift your kids in the hope that it helps them learn and grow, only a few make a real impact.
Encouraging them to play golf is one!
I believe golf has made an amazing difference to my life. I made golf a career. I am not suggesting you have to do that. I just hope golf can provide some of the things mentioned above to you, your children and your grandchildren. Give them a chance. They might just like it for a lifetime!
Thanks Mom and Dad!
Mark Peterson, PGA
Carthage Golf Course
- Click the links for more info on each.
- Get your kids or grand kids in the Joplin Golf Foundation Summer Youth Program. Its free! They will learn the game and have opportunities to get as involved in the game as they want to.
- $90 for a one-year junior membership to Carthage Golf Course. Get them a junior membership, normally amazingly cheap compared to other activities.
- Join a PGA Junior League Golf Team. We have a Joplin League.
- Give yourself a high-five for doing something that will make a real difference in your child’s life!