I started golfing when I was 13 years old. My Dad introduced me to the game, showed the fundamentals and let me go at it. I played a great deal of golf until I was 18 years old and then life took over. It was not until I was 29 that my passion rekindled and I have not looked back. I always had a passion for golf, but 28 years ago is when I really fell in love with hitting a little white ball into a small hole. Yet, I wonder where my game would be if I started golfing just a bit earlier in life.
I see many fathers looping the course with their kids in tow. The ages range from about 10 to 14 years old. In many cases, the parent is giving loving guidance and encouragement to their offspring in hopes that their passion for golf is lit within their child. I like to see younger players on the course and I have tremendous patience as I watch the beginner repeatedly hit their ball.
So I ask this question: When is the right age to start introducing golf to children? It is a simple question and should have a simple answer. Over the years, I have discussed this topic with many would be parents of golfers. The answers varied and there seemed to be no right answer. As you can see from my poll, age 4-6 seems to be the consensus.
However, I am not entirely sure this is the correct answer. The answers I heard focused less on the physical attributes and skills of a player and more on their ability to stay focused on learning. In most cases, teaching a younger person to play any sport, let along golf, takes time and patience of the teacher. If it is not fun, the kids lose interest quickly and want to move onto something else. After years of teaching kids to play various sports, I can appreciate the kids wanting the time spent hitting a club to be fun. I am sure many of you as adults feel the exact same way.
Golf is trying to grow. The only way this is going to happen is to introduce it at the grassroots. Golf Canada goes to great lengths to ensure junior golfers are included in their long-term view of how to expand golf in Canada. The opportunities available for young golfers has grown over the years and Golf Canada is there to guide parents and future players as they develop their passion for the game. I could, however, not find an age the pundits think best to start kids playing golf.
I guess the answer is, “it depends”. It depends on the attitude of the child. It depends on the parents. It depends on how fun golf becomes. It depends on cost. It depends, it depends, it depends.
The only advice I have for parents looking to start their child on the journey to be the next Tiger Woods is to do some research. Talk to your local professional. And talk to your child to make sure they want to play. Most importantly, make it fun for the beginner. Because if they are not having fun, what is the point.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!