Before you begin teaching golf to your kids, please keep a few things in mind. First, golf is a game for a lifetime and whether a kid takes advantage of that opportunity is up to you. Try to keep it fun and help them develop a love for the game. Second, golf is a difficult, skills oriented sport. My philosophy is to help the kids have fun, develop a passion for the game, teach the fundamentals a couple at a time, offer praise when they get it right and encouragement when they don’t.
Developing the Passion
A key that I’ve found with my own kids is to keep it short at first and leave while they’re still having fun. I’ve seen way to many parents dragging out a trip to the driving range or golf course way too long. I can just see the boredom and “this is worse than shopping” attitude developing. You need to pay attention to see whether they are interested and having fun or if they’re getting ready to move on and go as soon as you see it is time. This may mean trips that are no more than 15 or 20 minutes, hitting just a few balls and getting a drink and snack in the club house.
Interestingly, I’ve found that a lot of my kids early enjoyment came from parts of the experience other than the golf activities. On one trip, my daughter was fascinated by the ball machine. For a while, my son’s favorite part was getting a Sprite after hitting some balls. He liked that I gave him the whole bottle instead of just a little in a cup. As they got bigger, riding in the golf cart was a big thrill, so I found a course where you had a long drive from the pro shop to the range.
All this was doing was making sure they had a good experience and their early memories are positive. Over time, the trips get longer and the kids do a bit more golfing. As this starts to happen you can begin to focus on the fundamentals and you can help them understand some of the etiquette you learned over the years.