Five things parents of young golfers should know

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Five things parents of young golfers should know

Golf

Five things parents of young golfers should know

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Being a parent of a young golfer is a commitment, but it’s worth it.

Whether you already have a child playing golf or are thinking about getting involved, here are a few pieces of advice for parenting young golfers from PGA Jr. League coach at Atlanta Country Club Brandon Snell.

Snell coaches children aged 8-13 about the basics of golf in group and individual sessions as well as in tournaments.

5. Get them started as young as possible

This is one is a given and generally good advice regardless of the sport.

The earlier children can work on their hand-eye coordination and motor skills, the sooner those skills can become second-nature.

4. Keep them involved in as many sports as possible

Alternating the types of physical activities in which young athletes participate can benefit their game.

Staying activein any way helps young athletes from backsliding during the offseason, but it also can contribute to longevity in their favorite sport. Alternating between different motions and muscle groups can reduce the risk of overuse and burnout due to one repetitive motion which often happens in one-sport athletes.

Keeping young athletes active year-round can also help against mental exhaustion.

“So many people stick to one sport and either get burnout, they’ll get hurt, they will just get tired of something and then they’ve got nothing else to look forward to or kind of take their time up in the offseason,” Snell said.

Keep them active, but don’t wear them out. A break from routine and rest are important.

3. Don’t focus too much on cost

The green fees, the specialty clubs and the season’s newest outfits can wear on parents’ wallets, but the top tier equipment isn’t necessary to become a golfer.

The most important factor to a young golfer’s game is having clubs that fit. If the clubs don’t fit kids correctly, many other problems can result.

“(Finding clubs that fit) is one of the biggest things just as far as once they actually get started in the game of golf,” Snell said.

While it is vital that the young golfer has clubs, a golf bag and shoes that fit correctly, the items don’t need to have a professionals price tag. Second-hand sports stores can be an alternative to buying brand new, top-of-the-line items.

If in need of extra help, another option to help young athletes pursue golf is getting involved in The First Tee Program. Not only does The First Tee Program teach kids the game of golf, but it helps them learn life skills that can be applied off the course every day of their lives with after-school and in-school programs.

More information on The First Tee, its nine core values and how to get involved can be found on the organization’s website

2. There are more benefits than trophies

Golf can teach life lessons.

There are highs and lows. Sometimes your shot lines up perfectly. Sometimes your ball falls in the water or a bunker. What happens next, in life and in the game, is determined by the golfer’s attitude.

“Even being in an individual sport, golf teaches you to accept your faults if you were to make a mistake and you have no one else to blame,” Snell said. “There are so many ways golf can relate to life.”

Golf can also provide benefits like a path to college. Not just for golfers themselves, but for their caddies. Snell said his brother received a full ride to Ohio State as a caddie through The Chick Evans Scholarship. Caddies who receive the scholarship have a strong caddie record, stellar academics, financial need and commendable character.

Graduation rate among Chick Evans Scholarship recipients is 95 percent. There are 985 scholars currently enrolled in colleges across the nation and 10,830 Evans Scholars Alumni.

1. The goal should be to have fun

If your child isn’t having fun, what’s the point?

An athlete in any sport can’t truly compete at the highest level if they don’t enjoy what they’re doing. Look at 15-time major champion Tiger Woods. He’s had highs and lows, but his love for the game has fueled his career.

So parents: don’t force anything.

“I’ve seen it so many times where some parents are so set on (what) they want their kid to do and the kid doesn’t enjoy it,” Snell said. “If the kid doesn’t enjoy it, it’s a waste of their time and their money. I hate saying that, but it happens in every sport.”

There will always be highs and lows, on and off the field, so where your young athlete spends their time and your money should be a field in which they love to compete.

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