How to keep junior golfers engaged and occupied at home during the coronavirus pandemic

Two organizations have proposed some fun and educational activities to stoke kids' interest in the game.
Golf courses may be less accessible than usual due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it doesn't have to stop kids from enjoying the game.

The coronavirus pandemic has prompted school cancellations and work-from-home mandates across the world, confronting millions of parents with a question they didn’t think they’d have to answer for at least another couple months.

How best to keep the kids occupied?

Summertime typically provides enough outdoor opportunities - sports, camps, playdates and other activities - to bridge the gap until school starts again. But what happens when, starting in early March, the kids are home, many parents are newly working from home and there’s barely anywhere to go because seemingly the whole world is hunkered down?

With "social distancing” being the order of the day and school either on hold or taking place online, parents are scrambling to come up with ways to keep their kids learning. And for all parents’ efforts to limit their children’s “screen time,” especially on the Internet, that’s exactly where many solutions lie.

This is true for parents of golfers as well. Luckily, two organizations have stepped up to offer some diversion.

The Great Junior Golf Design Challenge of 2020

At first blush, the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) might seem like one of the last places to offer programming for children, composed as it is by serious men and women in tartan blazers. But many architects pursue such a career precisely because their formative experiences in golf inspired them to make it their life’s work.

Based on an idea from aspiring golf course architect Jay Smith and taken up by ASGCA members Lester George and Nathan Crace, the organization is hosting its first-ever golf course design “challenge” for kids.

“As a young boy, I spent hours drawing imaginary golf holes on plain paper and by age 10 I had built three holes on my parents' land in Indiana,” said Crace. "Hopefully, this challenge will give boys and girls that same spark to display their creativity for everyone to see!”

Having annoyed teachers throughout my own schooling by drawing golf holes on computer paper instead of classwork, I think this is an awesome initiative. Perhaps the best part of it is that it’s non-competitive; “It’s not a contest,” reads the worksheet provided online. Rather than winners and (by definition) losers, the ASGCA is using the exercise to encourage creativity from young golfers.

For more information and to help your nearest junior golfer submit, click here.

TGA Premier Golf

TGA (“Teach, Grow, Achieve”) is a youth sports organization that specializes in developing and providing in-school programming with a strong golf presence. With physical schools empty at this time, TGA is finding creative ways to serve kids, especially when it comes to golf.

For starters, last Monday, TGA began posting a “Lessons at Home” series on its blog, with golf included in two of the three posts so far. Not only do they include a basic level video instruction, but there are also some other activity suggestions included, like worksheets that incorporate golf into lessons on science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM).

In addition, TGA will begin offering virtual golf instruction classes as well.

“Social distancing and staying in place at home are short-term realities but that doesn’t mean we want to sit idle with how youth and families experience golf during this time,” said TGA’s founder and CEO Joshua Jacobs. “Our corporate staff, franchise owners, and coaches are committed to working together to churn out existing and new content repurposed in an online platform for families everywhere.”

How are you feeding your junior golfers’ love for the game during the coronavirus pandemic? Share some of your strategies in the comments below!

Tim Gavrich is a Senior Writer for GolfPass. Follow him on Twitter @TimGavrich and on Instagram @TimGavrich.
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How to keep junior golfers engaged and occupied at home during the coronavirus pandemic