How to Start Juniors Golfing – Quality Time

My dad hasn’t beaten me at golf in a long time. Actually, it’s been a while since he’s earnestly tried.

It’s probably unfair of me to bring it up. I work at a golf course. He dusts off his clubs maybe twice a year. But since these facts (and disparate win-loss record) doesn’t curb the trash talk on course, it won’t in my blog.

Fathers_Day_2013

Fathers Day 2013 [dad and myself in the upper left, grandpa in the upper right, uncles filling in the rest]

Golf days with my dad are unfortunately few and far between these days now that we’re both “adults” with full time jobs. It also doesn’t help that my weekends are usually spent away-from-course, and dad has had his joints operated on more than there are strokes in my handicap. Yet we still try to get out at least once a year to toss some beers in the cart and lose a bunch of his golf balls.

There was a time when we would golf quite a bit. That time, like with so many other avid golfers, was when I was young and just starting out. Bright and early on Sunday mornings, we would be at courses all over Oahu. Sometimes just the two of us, sometimes with uncle or grandpa. Driving ranges and municipals escalated into the nicer public courses like Ewa Beach Golf Club.

At first I ran through some hand-me-down sets. Excaliburs. Featherlights. What I think were Wilsons. Then dad bought me my first set of clubs: Ping Eye2 irons with a wooden “blondie” driver. I think he found it entertaining to watch a 12 year old kid swing a 15 year old clubs.

I tell you what, though. When I started taking lessons, I could stripe those things. Lessons which, of course, he signed me up for. After he realized my interest was growing, he took me to junior golf classes in Ewa Beach at the course where I eventually got my first job washing carts.

Now, more than a decade later, here I am: 10+ years in the golf industry, all triggered by some father-son time.

Parental influence often happens when we’re just trying to have fun. I’m a writer because my mom liked to read to me before bed, and I’m a Marketing Coordinator at Ewa Beach Golf Club because my dad wanted to play some golf with his son. Learn to play, play to learn. Or something like that.

One of the most frequent golf-related questions I get is “how do I start my kid in golf?”

My answer is always this: go play with ‘em. Hack a few at the range. Take them riding (if it’s legal and safe to do so) during your next 9 holes. Use golf as the background rather than the emphasis. Make it fun. And it doesn’t take breaking the bank to do so. Most courses offer a discount for players under 17. Some (such as ourselves) run promotions where juniors can play for free.

Then, if interest grows, you can invest. Lessons, new clubs, the whole 379 yard par 4.

I see too many kids younger than myself already frustrated with the game. It’s a shame because my enthusiasm for the game is grounded in the many fond memories I have golfing as a kid. When the driver keeps hooking and the damn wedge keeps digging, I remember that it all started with pops telling me:

“No tink! Just wack ’em!”

Golf should be a reward at the end of a long week, not another burden. Something most adults forget these days. Don’t impose that on the younger ones. Get them to enjoy the game before worrying about getting better. And who knows? Maybe you’ll start to enjoy the game even more yourself.

2017-02-28T21:12:14+00:00 By |Categories: Off the Fairway|Tags: , , |0 Comments

About the Author:

Shane Makanui-Lopes is the Marketing Coordinator at Ewa Beach Golf Club. He is also an avid writer and golfer who has worked in the golf industry since 2006. Born and raised on the islands, Shane has a degree in English from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and a personal best low round of 80.

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