In golf, there are many levels of skill, ranging from beginner to proficient, recreational to professional. If a youngster wishes to ascend their game to one of the higher levels, belonging to a golf club provides a developmental environment that is instrumental in achieving that goal.
Golf clubs that fit this model have a championship golf course, good practice facilities, and an environment that fosters game improvement. This environment includes professional golf instruction, opportunities to practice and play with higher-skilled golfers, a fun atmosphere, and friends.
Golf clubs commonly have professionals who specialize in teaching the game to young golfers. They have been trained to instruct your child about not only the physical aspects of the game, but also the mental approaches that lead to improvement and success in competition. These instructors also educate young golfers about how to practice and will help them set up a regiment to maximize their game. Young golfers will benefit greatly from this instruction and receive the positive reinforcement, discipline, and playing techniques necessary to improve their golf skills.
When it comes to the establishing successful behaviors in our children, a golf club promotes concepts of integrity, poise, courtesy, and commitment that cannot be duplicated in other environments. Character is perhaps the most beneficial gift the game of golf has to offer a young person, and the concepts that prove successful on the course often make great life lessons. Even if your child never becomes an elite golfer, the life lessons they will take away from being a part of a golf club environment are priceless. For college coaches, when it comes to choosing one golfer over another, the player with better character is the choice because they know that player will be a good citizen and will do what it takes to be successful.
A Junior-friendly Home Course
It's important for young golfers to access a course that is empathetic to the needs of blossoming talent. Some golf clubs provide forward tees for beginners, and good access for junior play. Playing from forward tees allows youngsters to reach milestones and break barriers (breaking 90, for instance) that are essential for growth. And as these youngsters improve and mature, a good club will have longer tees and a challenging layout to continue a golfer’s development. This is required for players that have goals to play in college and on Tour. It is important to practice as well as play, and a comfortable environment to do both is a valuable asset. Many golf clubs provide ample facilities for improving your child's game, whether it’s quality practice greens, a driving range for all sorts of long and short shots, or a short game area where young golfers can sharpen their pitching, chipping and bunker play. With the right club that offers the right environment, there is virtually no limit to a youngster’s development in the game of golf.
Junior Program Participation
Having your child participate in a junior golf program is essential for getting started in the game. Golf clubs offer instruction, leagues, and counsel and provide an environment for young golfers to improve. It's also a great opportunity for youngsters to make friends who have similar goals and to take advantage of peer competition on a daily basis. Once friendships are established, your child will want to spend more and more time at the club, practicing their game in a healthy environment. Yes, a good golf club offers the right blend of social atmosphere and a competitive setting, which will allow young golfers to reach their full potential. But every child is different, and achievements will vary. To reach the higher levels, it is necessary to augment their club experience with entering and competing in golf tournaments outside of one’s home club.
Playing in Golf Tournaments
As part of a club, young golfers not only have access to league play and club junior tournaments, but they will also learn what events outside the club to play in and when to do so. It is the cumulation of these events that lead a young golfer to higher levels of competition and success. A college scholarship is certainly realistic for young golfers who become competitive in junior and amateur tournaments. This is where college coaches find their recruits. The more competitive golf your child plays, the better they will become, and the better chance of earning a college golf scholarship.
Receiving a College Golf Scholarship
Out of some 7 million high school athletes, only about 2% of them receive college scholarships to play sports. That being said, there are great opportunities in golf. Your child doesn't need to jump four feet off the ground, run a 4.4-second 40-yard dash, or be 6-foot-10 to become an accomplished golfer. What they do need is a desire to learn, the right instruction, the right environment, a significant drive to become better, and a lot of practice. In golf, more than four times as many high school golfers get scholarships compared with other sports. There are great opportunities in college golf, for men and especially women. Due to NCAA Title IX, Division I colleges can offer women’s golf teams six full scholarships, 1.5 more than men’s teams.
Once your child has advanced their abilities and they become candidates for a college scholarship, you'll want to take a few steps to enhance their chances for success. The best way for young players to attract attention from golf coaches is to play in major junior and amateur tournaments. Here is one website's list of steps to to help your child get recruited:
- Create a target a list of schools your child has interest in attending
- Gather all the contact information for the golf coaches
- Start the communication with the coaches
- Attend summer camps and showcases
- Know the NCAA and NAIA rules and regulations for the recruiting process
- Know the academic requirements to be eligible
Home Away From Home
No matter what level of golf your child aspires to play, they will want to spend more time at the club – whether it's practicing their game or hanging out with friends. It's certainly a better option than letting them sit at home wasting time watching television and playing video games. And when you belong to a club, you won't mind having your child enjoy the club with friends while improving their golf skills. And as a parent, you will cherish the opportunity to be with your friends from the club, enjoying golf and other activities with like-minded quality people.
What other considerations do you think make for a beneficial learning environment for your young golfer?