Golf: The ultimate family game

Golf: The ultimate family game

Golf is becoming more inclusive and welcoming, allowing families of all ages and skills to play together.
A dad enjoys a round with his two children using a four-seat golf cart at Sandestin Golf Resort in Florida.

If you're like me, it's lonely being the only golfer in the family.

My wife doesn't play. Neither do my children.

I have plenty of golf buddies, but sometimes, it would be nice to have golfers under the same roof. I know I'm not alone in this pursuit. There are thousands of golfing moms and dads who would love to get their children into the game. Quality time spent together on the golf course can only strengthen family bonds.

Thankfully, golf's walls of exclusiveness are crumbling. The stereotypes that have hindered participation for generations are slowly disappearing. Golf has never been more inclusive for all ages and abilities. It's being enjoyed by more youth, girls and minorities than ever before, according to various industry statistics.

All those categories of growth could lead to more families playing together. Resorts and country clubs are working harder than ever to attract families, building short courses that can be played quickly and affordably by all skill levels and renting out four- and six-person carts so families can ride together.

These new facilities and new attitudes are helpful for parents attempting to introduce the game to their children, friends or other relatives. It doesn't matter what a person's age or skill level is - everybody starts on a level playing field, learning as they go. It's more about having fun and enjoying the journey than worrying about shooting a low score or cultivating a low handicap.

An abundance of junior golf programs

For children, there's a well-lit path to learning to play golf. Almost any local course near you - whether it's a private country club or municipal facility - will have some sort of junior program, whether that's youth camps and clinics, special lesson offers or other junior programs you can find through resources like Sports Engine.

All of these programs can teach the fundamentals, rules and etiquette necessary to get the kids out on the course in no time. The key for catching the attention of young golfers is having fun and finding friends who also like golf. They won't want to play with mom and dad forever.

Youth On Course helps families save money

For parents hesitant to get their kids started because of the perceived cost, the price to get started doesn't have to be prohibitive any more. Youth on Course, a 501(c)3 organization headquartered in Pebble Beach, Calif., provides its members ages 18 and under with access to play thousands of courses across multiple states for $5 or less. YOC members also have access to hundreds of hours of high-quality golf instruction thanks to a complimentary video membership through GolfPass. While private lessons are encouraged to get any golfer started, they don't have to last forever. The instruction and tips through GolfPass can speed up the learning process and save money.

GolfPass introduces a student membership

Young adults in college or just starting their careers don't have to let tight finances deter them from discovering golf, either. I remember those days fondly, because even though I didn't have much money, I had an even more valuable currency: time. Without children or the responsibilities of a high-level job, your time is your own.

I played more golf between the ages 23 and 30 before getting married than at any other stage of my life. There are lots of tricks to finding bargain golf that anybody can afford, including playing municipal courses, seeking out twilight and weekday rates or booking hot deals on GolfNow. GolfPass also provides a student membership for anyone ages 16-24. You can get GolfPass+ for $59 or GolfPass Video memberships for $29, a 40-percent savings for the entire year. Click here to learn more how you can get up to $300 in benefits/savings.

Learning the game as an adult

If your children are already playing, but you aren't, it's time to join the party. Adults of any age can also learn the game through group clinics just like their children. The PGA of America's Get Golf Ready program has been around awhile and might be listed under a different name or theme at a course near you, but the premise is the same: Teaching the critical fundamentals, etiquette, rules and more to enjoy the game. These lessons can be great ways to make the learning process social and connect you to other beginning golfers. A social network of new friends to play with is critical to taking that next step from learning about golf to becoming a golfer.

Let the fun begin!

How did you get started in the game? Let us know in the comments below.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed and photographed more than 1,000 courses and written about golf destinations in 20 countries for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfpass and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
Commented on

started caddying at age 12 was allowed to play the course on mondays caddies day
bought a jr membership the next year while still caddying played every day when finished

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