One of the great joys of golf is introducing the game to someone else.
There's a sense a satisfaction knowing that you've given someone the gift of golf. Although the game can be maddeningly frustrating and expensive, it will also likely give the new golfer hours of entertainment and memories with friends and strangers alike.
This story is part of our beginner golf series we've launched this year in an attempt to keep golf's momentum moving forward post-pandemic. Use these tips and tricks to help potential new golfers - no matter their ages - get introduced to the game properly. It could set them on a path for years of enjoyment.
The first three items - nos. 5-7 - are meant for young children, but the top four suggestions can be used for kids or adults.
Playing a short course
Playing a short course is perhaps the greatest introduction to the game. Most are meant to be fun, affordable and fast to play. They're often designed to challenge more experienced golfers to take on bunkers and slopes while beginners can still play along without losing a ball or having too much trouble finishing a hole. Playing together provides the perfect mix of bonding and teaching moments. It also gives the new golfer a taste of what life is like on a real course. After a few short course rounds, maybe your budding golfer will be ready to graduate to the real thing.
How did you get introduced to golf? Let us know in the comments below.
Taking a lesson or clinic
Lessons and clinics are the best first steps for adults who have little to no experience with golf. The PGA of America's 'Get Golf Ready' program has been a logical starting point for many women and those who are too old for junior programs. Kids have a ton of options once school lets out for the summer, such as clinics at a local course or through a First Tee program. If lessons leave your child wanting to play more, it would be wise to find courses affiliated with Youth On Course, whose members play golf for $5 a round.
Although Topgolf is essentially a glorified driving range, it takes the golf experience up a notch to meet younger generations in their comfort zone. The Toptracer technology that tracks how far the ball goes and the video screens in each hitting bay essentially act as a video game. The drinks, food and music remove any stuffiness that's generally associated with golf. A night out at Topgolf removes any worries about what the swing looks like or what score you shot, the two most likely reasons this concept has the potential to introduce people to the game.
Hitting the driving range
Taking someone to the driving range can be right for some people and VERY wrong for others. Be careful about putting a club in the hands of a golf newbie. Armed with little knowledge of the swing, stance, grip, etc., this person might not have a positive experience. It's entirely possible that he or she could get super frustrated and never come back. But for someone who's naturally athletic and can hit the ball hard/far/in the air without much effort, smashing a few might be what hooks him or her for life.
Experimenting with Footgolf
Really? Hear me out. I think Footgolf is a great entry point for families or friends to get together and realize how wonderful it is to a walk a golf course and spend quality time together. Courses are essentially nature preserves or parks. Having fun outside without the distractions of technology should be a part of everybody's lives. Footgolf could eventually be a gateway into golf.
Putting around at mini-golf
This is the ideal way to get golf equipment - in this case, a putter - in the hands of children. Even at a young age, there's no better feeling than sinking a putt. This will be their first opportunity to learn the fundamentals of the game - a proper posture, grip, stance, stroke and focus - without the rigidity of the rules. Both Tiger Woods (PopStroke) and Rory McIlroy (Puttery) have invested their own money in new mini-golf concepts because they believe that these facilities make the game accessible and fun.
Taking a simple cart ride
If you're introducing a child to golf, a cart ride on the course is the perfect segue. Kids love it, and any happy memory of a golf course that's imprinted on a young, impressionable mind is a big positive. Obviously, children younger than 5 shouldn't be driving, but a 10-year-old behind the wheel will be giddy with excitement. Letting them hit a few shots and putts - or just running around enjoying the tightly manicured grass and fresh breeze - will be just as satisfying as shooting par.
Some great suggestions. I teach many Get Golf Ready Programs, I find them the easiest way to get the fundamentals. Make them fun and rewarding and your students will get hooked. Play well. Coach Rhona