As a golf instructor’s wife, I’m often asked by other moms where to even begin when it comes to golf. While the sport often has the perception of being an elitist game primarily for middle-aged men, it is one of the best lifelong, gender-neutral sports around. Given Wichita’s weather, you can play from early spring into the fall, sometimes as late as Thanksgiving.
Here are a few tips on how and when to introduce your kids to game the entire family can play!
Who can play golf?
Whether you are five or 85, you can play golf.
When can my kids start golf, and what can I expect?
Most golf professionals recommend children start around five-years-old. Private lessons or beginner programs are good options. For those five and up, the direction you go will depend on size, skill level, interest and what level of competitive golf suits their personality.
If your little one loves to swing a golf club and is under five, try private lessons for no more than 30 minutes at a time. Lessons will primarily focus on chipping and putting fundamentals.
What will my kids need for lessons?
It will depend on the location. Some programs require you to bring clubs. Some provide them. Golf balls are provided. Shorts and a t-shirt are acceptable attire for kids unless the golf course stipulates differently. Tennis shoes are fine. Avoid flip flops or sandals. Like any outdoor activity, you’ll want to make certain your little wears a hat and sunscreen, plus take a bottle of water with them. If you are in the market for golf clubs, US Kids Golf has the best beginner clubs.
Where do I take my kids to get them started with golf?
In Wichita, we are fortunate to have a few different resources for children wanting to learn and play golf:
TGA Premier Golf
Whether this is the first exposure to golf or if you’re looking to take your child’s game to the next level, TGA has a program to fit your needs. TGA has developed a Junior Golf Player Pathway to help guide families through the journey of learning and playing golf.
The First Tee of Greater Wichita
Designed to bring affordable junior golf to communities, this tremendous program is affiliated with the City of Wichita. Kids learn to play golf and life lessons.
City of Wichita Programs
For kids ages 6-10, SNAG (Starting New at Golf) is available through the City of Wichita along with several other programs. The classes are typically once a week in the evenings.
U.S. Kids Golf
For those already playing and ready to try a tournament, U.S. Kids Golf has a local tournament schedule. Players must be at least 5 years old by October 31 to participate.
If you are a member of a country club, contact your PGA professional about programs or individual lessons. Most of the local clubs have excellent programs for juniors.
Wichita Junior Golf
Wichita Junior Golf Foundation teaches kids, ages 9-18 the rules and basic skills of golf. It is an eight-week summer program held Monday and Tuesday mornings in June and July.
Enrollment fee is $25 for the entire eight week program and equipment is included for any participant that doesn’t have their own set of golf clubs.
Registration starts April 1 every year for the upcoming summer at WichitaJuniorGolf.com.
Why should kids learn golf?
There are physical, emotional and social aspects to golf. The First Tee provides the following nine core values for the game: honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment.
What a great list of values that all of us should teach our kids. All the better if we can have fun while doing it!