You love the game of golf, and you want your kids to love golf as much as you do. So how do you get your kids involved in the game without turning the game into a chore? The best trick is to make the game of golf an exciting game with little downtime.
Some of these ideas require a little bit of preplanning, so you might need access to a private course or need to create a course in your backyard. You don’t want to disturb other golfers while you’re hiding clues or your kids are solving clues. You can also take this time to teach your kids about proper golf course etiquette and how to respect other players while on the course.
Create a Scavenger Hunt
Make a game within a game with a golf scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt can help kids get more interested in the game and keep their attention when others are taking their turns. Put a clue in the first hole. The child who gets the ball closest to the hole or even gets the ball in the hole gets to read the clue first. If there is a tree that is bent in a funny direction on the course, you could hide the next clue near the tree. The child who gets the ball closest or in the next hole can read the next clue first. By the time the kids are finished with the course, they should have found all the clues or figured out a puzzle. This type of game keeps kids minds active while others are taking turns and makes the game more exciting.
Don’t Play the Entire Game
18 holes of golf can be a little much for anybody not to mention small children. Don’t expect your kids to be able to play an entire game. Instead, simply play 9 holes of golf. This way your kids will feel the game is a little more accessible. It’s also a good idea to set expectations of how long the game will take to play. You could even try playing a game of “speed” golf with your kids. Tell them you want to see how fast you can get through all 9 holes. If you get through the 9 holes in a relatively fast time, everybody gets a prize.
Golf Course Check List
Make a list of things for your kids to find as they’re playing the game. For example, your list could have a bird, a tree, a flower and a bug. Ask your kids to take photos of these items as others are taking their turns. You could even include challenges into the game where kids need to take photos of each other doing a dance, a cartwheel or a handstand at different holes. Whomever gets the most photos of challenges at the end wins a prize.
Encourage Kids to Encourage
Have a contest to see who can be the most encouraging while others are taking their turns? Ask your kids to cheer each other on with kind words. Ask the kids to even give each other pointers on form or technique. This way they can share what works for them to help improve their games. This also takes some of the pressure off you; instead of constantly feeling like you’re nagging your kids to improve their posture while golfing, your kids can encourage each other to stand in perfect form.
Play Eye Spy
While one child is putting, ask your other kids to play eye spy. You can start by saying you spy something red if you happen to see a man in a red sweater. Just try not to pick green because there’s often too many green things on a golf course for kids to spot the one thing you’re spying!
Make Holes Bigger
If you have a golf course in your backyard or access to a golf course, you can make holes bigger for littler kids. Try using a plastic kiddie pool instead of a typical-sized hole. This makes the game a little easier and much more digestible for little ones. Plus, it’s an awful lot of fun driving balls at a huge plastic pool. Even adults can have fun with this game. Its good to remember that little kids can feel encouraged by small things to make the game fun. You could even fill the plastic pool with water and have a contest to see who can make the biggest splash in the pool. Add a little dye or food color to the water for an extra cool splash.
Make it a Family Affair
Kids often want to do what they’re parents are doing. They don’t want to be left behind for a fun family outing, so make golf a family affair. Choose one day a week or one day a month that the little ones can accompany mom and dad to the golf course. Make a big deal out of the fact that the little ones can do something that their parents love. Buy the kids golf outfits that match your outfits to make them feel like they are very grown-up. You can even buy them their own inexpensive set of golf clubs to make them feel more like their parents.
Offer Prizes at Each Hole
Create a different game at each hole and offer prizes for the kids who complete the challenges. If your kids are too little to make the ball into the hole, you could set up lollipops around the hole instead. Whomever hits the lollipops with a ball gets to eat the lollipop. Or you could create a game at a hole where the child who gets his or her ball closest to the hole gets a prize. Other games could include: Whichever child has the best form at a hole gets a prize, whomever has the best dance after making a shot gets a prize, whomever can jump the highest after making a shot gets a prize or whomever gets the best score at the end of the game gets a prize. You could even have prizes at the end for most encouraging child, best dancer, best form overall and best jokes at the holes. This way, the kids understand that winning isn’t the most important part of golf; having fun is the biggest success.
Golf Dance Party
Ask your kids to create a dance at each hole. Give them a theme before making their shots. For example, you could include themes like ballroom dance, jazz dance, Harlem shake, contemporary dance and interpretive dance. While your kids are waiting their turns, they can practice their dances. After they make their shots, they need to show everyone their final dances. You can award prizes for the best dances at each hole.
Make it an Event
If you make golfing a fun activity that gets kids excited, they won’t moan about going to the golf course. Make a golf advent calendar to count down the days before your family heads out to the course. Allow kids to pick out a new piece of clothing before the big day. Buy them books about golf even fictional stories that revolve around golf can be fun for kids to read to start getting them excited for the big event. Play golf trivia games in the car on the way to the golf course. The more you make the game of golf an event, the more it feels like a family vacation instead of just another trip to the golf course or driving range.
Go Out for Ice Cream
Head to an awesome ice cream shop or restaurant after you go golfing. You can go to the same place every time, so your kids associate that one restaurant with golfing. Your special restaurant could be a cool diner that serves up food you’d never let them eat under other circumstances or a fancy restaurant at the golf club. The more you associate that one special place with golf day, the more your kids will associate golfing as a fun activity. You could even head to a different place every time you go golfing at let your kids pick the restaurant.
Dos and Don’ts
Don’t make going golfing into a chore; the more your kids associate golfing with something fun, the more they’re likely to have fun while golfing. Don’t force your kids to play an entire game if they look bored; once your kids’ attention span goes out the window, switch up the game or play through. Don’t force your kids to play golf; try to make playing the game their decision. Don’t focus too much on their form or how often they get the ball in the hole; the more you encourage fair play and enjoyment, the more they will associate golf as a fun activity.
The most important thing to remember is to make the game of golf fun. Ask yourself why you enjoy golf and why you started playing. Share these experiences with your kids. They’ll love hearing about how you started playing back when you were their age.