Let’s talk about kids…and golf. I was very fortunate in that my family has always had a sweet spot for golf – we literally grew up on a golf course. We spent days on the driving range at Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge, swinging too-big-for-us clubs into oblivion and celebrating our efforts with ice cream. We attended clinics, got a few lessons, and followed along while the adults smoked cigars down the fairways.
My best memory in the early stages of learning to play golf is when I would hit my tee shot a solid 10 yards and my dad would praise the shot, help me into the cart, drive to my ball, pick it up without stopping, and lob it as we got closer to the green. I’ll admit, the swift pick up with the cart still moving was probably the best part – but it actually encouraged me to try to hit better, longer shots. A roundabout way of teaching this, perhaps, but still effective. I also mastered the moving-cart-ball-pickup, a party trick I’m overly proud of.
The point of that riveting story is that there is no wrong way to get your kids excited and interested in golf. More than anything, they just want to spend time doing something you love with you. Here are a few steps to getting your kids interested in golf without breaking your bank account or stressing you out.
- Take them to the driving range with ZERO expectations. Give them a few clubs and a bunch of balls, pick a spot away from everyone, and let them go for it. Show them how to generally hold the club, and demonstrate the general idea. Kids learn best by trial and error and, let’s be honest, we all know “trial and error” is actually the unspoken slogan for the game of golf.
- Make up some fun, totally random games. I don’t have to tell you that your kids will be more interested in a new activity if you make it a competition for weird, meaningless points. I have the most vivid memories of trying to hit straight down the fairway because otherwise my ball would dissolve in the Rough Lava (anything not on the fairway). Tell them they must putt the ball into the hole in 2 strokes otherwise the sprinklers won’t work and the course will dry up forever. Encourage them to use every club in the bag by giving the clubs names and emotions – example: “If you don’t use Frank the Five iron on this hole, he’s going to feel sad and left out of all of the fun!” Emotional Intelligence training AND imagination in one? Yes, please.
- Take them with you for nine holes. They might not make it the whole way – maybe they will play one or two, but who cares? Golf carts are very exciting and there is endless flora & fauna to discover on a golf course. They won’t be bored if you give them the freedom to explore the course.
- As they grow up, get them into kid’s clinics at local courses and maybe enroll them in some junior tournaments when they’re ready.
More than anything, take the time when they’re young to expose them to the golf course with you. Vacations at places like ours are a great way to get them interested without forcing technique or expectations. What better way to bond as a family than with some twilight golf, followed by ice cream, followed by an evening lake swim? Our best memories of golf as kids were playing silly games, hitting some fun shots, and enjoying golf in a positive atmosphere.
Sugarbrooke Golf Course is challenging but it is also a great place to learn. The variety of holes on the course keeps it interesting and kids have the perfect environment to have fun. We cherish these memories of our own and we want guests to carve out those memories of their own.
This summer, we’re offering an incredible walking golf rate to guests: $9 for 9 holes and $18 for 18 holes. Our intention is to get families and friends back on the golf course in the way it was supposed to be enjoyed: at a slower pace, spaced out, with less stress.