The wonderful sport of golf is becoming more and more popular with children, who enjoy the game for many of the same reasons adults do. Golf is a great way to relax and catch up with friends, while also providing an enjoyable source of physical exercise. There are several courses around the country that are designed for children, and there are also a host of programs geared towards introducing children to golf and helping them improve their game. If you have children, the AtTheTee.com team encourages you to get them involved in the game; if you do not have children (or if you do), please consider volunteering your time and/or money to these organizations. Children are our future, and it is our duty as lovers of the game of golf to pass our enthusiasm onto them.
Child-Friendly Golf Courses
Bloomfield Links Six-Hole Golf Course
Old Fort Golf Club
1028 Golf Lane
Murfreesboro, TN 37129
One golf course that is geared towards children is Bloomfield Links at Old Fort Golf Club in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. According to Old Fort’s website, “Bloomfield Links is a 6-hole short course designed specifically for beginners, juniors of all ages, seniors, ladies, and even the skilled player who just wants to work on his wedge game. The course is the home of the Bloomfield Linksters Program, a PGA Junior League Team, a satellite First Tee Program, and the Jex Wilson Junior Golf Academy. Bloomfield Links is a truly one-of-a-kind facility that provides ‘fun for the entire family’ while allowing everyone to learn and grow in the game of golf.”
A youngster enjoys the links at Bloomfield's 6-Hole Golf Course
Image source: www.gannett-cdn.com
Children between the ages of 6 and 13 are permitted to join the Bloomfield Linksters, and each participant “must have his or her own clubs.” Bloomfield Links is dedicated to teaching “core fundamentals [such as] grip, stance, ball position, alignment, and posture [and] training the mind to be quiet and focused on the target before each shot by following a mental pre-shot and post-shot routine.” Additionally, the program teaches “developing and maintaining a positive attitude and body posture [along with] the Rules of Golf.” This program (and the course itself) are an excellent resource for juniors looking to improve their game.
CityParks Junior Golf Center
8850 14th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11228
One of the finest golf courses in the country is the Junior Golf Center, which is “located next to the Dyker Beach public golf course in Bay Ridge Brooklyn [and] is a new, state-of-the-art facility that offers free golf instruction to New York City children between the ages of 7-17.” The Junior Golf Center includes “a 6-hole course, practice putting, and chipping greens, [along with a] covered driving range and clubhouse with classroom space.” There are beginner, advanced beginner, intermediate, advanced intermediate, and academy classes available, and the Junior Golf Center is happy to accommodate golfers of every skill level.
Clubhouse, CityParks Junior Golf Center
Image source: www.image.silive.com
The First Tee Program of Greater Portland
19825 River Road
Gladstone, OR 97027
The First Tee is a program that is “dedicated to nurturing disadvantaged children ages 7 to 17, building values that strengthen their character, and guiding them in becoming responsible adults through the game of golf.” The home of the Greater Portland chapter of The First Tee is The Children’s Course, “a 9-hole, par 3 layout [that] includes a facility unique to Portland, the Erling Jacobsen Learning Center, [which is] a 5-hole short course for teaching, practice, and play. It is funded by private donations from foundations, corporations, and individuals.” The Children’s Course “is located in a beautiful setting nestled between the Clackamas and Willamette Rivers in Gladstone [and was established] on June 30, 1996. In 2000, The Children’s Course became a chapter of The First Tee organization.”
Instructors and young golfers at the Children's Course
Image source: www.static.wixstatic.com
The First Tee of Greater Portland is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing golfing opportunities for youth and families. To learn more, visit this link and @TFTGPortland on Twitter.
Rhode Island Children's Golf Course
2 Fairway Drive
Coventry, RI 02816
Another excellent golf course that is specifically designed for children is the Rhode Island Children’s Golf Course. According to their website, this course “give[s] children from all walks of life a chance to learn and play the game on their very own course. Youngsters who normally wouldn’t be exposed to golf–including at-risk, special needs, and disabled kids–will now have the opportunity to come and participate.” Additionally, “after participating in our programs, independent studies have revealed that not only have children’s grades gotten better, but the behavioral and social skills of these youngsters improved substantially as well. Golf, more than any other sport, teaches life skills, core values, and healthy habits.”
Instructor and young golfers at the Rhode Island Children's Golf Course
Image source: www.richildrensgolfcourse.com
Rhode Island Children’s Golf Course gives children from all walks of life a chance to learn and play the game on their very own course. Learn more here.
U.S. Kids Golf
This organization is devoted to “help[ing] kids have fun learning the lifelong game of golf and to encourage family interaction that builds lasting memories. U.S. Kids Golf, LLC was started in 1996 [and] since then, parents and pros around the world have seen the incredible difference that lightweight and correctly fit clubs have made in their young player’s swing and enthusiasm for the game.”
Their website features a directory of kid-friendly coaches, all of whom have been certified Master Kids Coaches. U.S. Kids Golf also holds annual domestic and international tournaments and offers a wide range of products for sale. They are a family business and “desiring to stay true to the mission and purpose of bringing kids into the game…the vision of families spending time together outdoors and playing golf is [their] true passion, and many people throughout the golf industry have joined [them] in [their] efforts.” If you are looking for a variety of options when selecting junior golf clubs, visit this link.
My Little Golfers
My Little Golfers teaches children that “golf is a great game,” but wants them to always keep in mind that it is a “game” that is meant to be enjoyable. They assert that “the golf course is a wonderful place to play…imagine a 5-year-old not wanting to go run around a big field, whack some balls with a stick/club, see all types of animals, skip some rocks, get snacks, and hang out with mom or dad…sounds like a pretty cool day.”
My Little Golfers has created a Golf Adventure for first time golfers that “should provide you with…big smiles and high fives from your little one.” Adventure One includes designing a magic ball, putting together an adventure kit, planning your adventure at the golf course, and picking an adventure prize. Children then begin completing tasks such as giving a high five to a golf pro, making an angel in the sand trap, and hitting three golf balls into the water. Although these activities are not as “serious” as some of the other organizations and golf courses we have mentioned, they are still useful and are a useful alternative for children.
Golf Digest‘s Ten Best Golf Tips for Kids
Golf Digest’s online magazine curated a list of 10 golf tips to help children get involved in the game of golf. Their advice includes letting them call the shots and play by instinct, maximize practice time by going at a time when the course won’t be crowded, and always remembering to keep golf fun. Additionally, adults should provide children with the right equipment, communicating on their level, avoiding criticism, and letting them teach you. For more tips and recommendations, visit this link.
Northampton Valley Country Club's Tips for Getting Kids Interested in Golf
According to Northampton Valley Country Club of Richboro, PA, the first thing to do is “take your kids to miniature golf. What better way to get accustomed to this sport than to show them how to use the simplest golf club first? The child can get a feel for one of the most important aspects of this sport and start getting used to seeing the ball go in the hole. After your child has succeeded in mini golf, the next step would be to try them out at the range.” The Country Club also suggests watching PGA Tour events and then, of course, taking children to Northampton Country Club!
Chris Foley Golf Schools on Getting Kids Started in Golf
The goal of Chris Foley Golf Schools is to “increase enjoyment of the game of golf through a holistic instructional program. Mr. Foley is a PGA Master Professional and Director of Instruction at Cragun’s Legacy Courses in Brainerd, Minnesota. His program includes golf instruction, club fitting, course management, rules, and etiquette. The focus of [their] instruction is based on the individual’s goals and ability level, while always adhering to the proper fundamentals of golf. [Their] approach is for long-term improvement with short-term results and success.” Their advice on getting kids interested in golf?: “start your child as soon as they show an interest in playing…the most important thing is to expose them to the game and foster their interest as they get excited.”
Clinics at Chris Foley Golf Schools
Image source: www.craguns.com
Essentially, “the best way to initially introduce the game to your child is to take them to the driving range and letting them swing away…at this point, the only real instruction that they need to be given is to place their hands next to each other on the handle of the golf club and point them in the right direction.” If you want to provide them with lessons, “formal instruction can start as soon as a child enters school, [and one of the most] important factor[s] in giving a youngster the best chance of having some early success is for them to have properly-fitting equipment.” To learn more, visit this link.
GolfLink on Getting Kids Involved in Junior Golf
In an article for Golf Links on how to get kids involved in junior golf, author Teresa Kelly advocates golf as “a non-contact sport that any child–small or large, male or female–can enjoy. Golf also teaches children some of life’s greatest lessons, including fair play, etiquette, and discipline, and it is a sport that can be enjoyed for a lifetime.” Ms. Kelly “is an avid golfer, a well-known children’s book and golf author, and is currently the president of Highview Press/Golfing Lady that produces all occasion golf greeting cards.” Her specific advice includes taking children to the putting green at an early age, enrolling children in a junior golf program at a golf course, and encouraging your child to participate in junior golf tournaments if they are interested. For more information, visit this link.
Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) on Teaching Children to Play Golf
According to PGA Golf Professional and founder of Little Linksters Brendon Elliott, you should always ensure that having fun is the number one priority when introducing children to golf: “Whatever your aspirations may be for your child with golf, you need to remember (and remind your child) that it’s just a game…even if your child does grow to love the game and winds up devoting a great deal of time with it, make sure they grow up to be a well-rounded individual.”
Mr. Elliott also recommends teaching them “the etiquette and rules of the game,” finding an instructor via PGA.com, providing them with “junior-specific golf equipment,” and choosing a course that is accommodating to junior golfers. Another important thing to keep in mind is to always “be realistic in your potential expectations for [your junior golfer]…[remember,] there are endless opportunities out there for your son or daughter within the wonderful game of golf.” To find out more, visit this link.