First Time Golfing With Son
By Kickntrue on 4/18/11
My wife and I took my (almost) 2 year old son golfing yesterday. Over the course of 8 holes, I took maybe 10 total shots. Despite that small detail, it was the one of the best golfing experiences of my life. I think no matter the activity- getting the chance to introduce your progeny to something you love, and seeing them so enthusiastic towards it is one of the most rewarded experiences you can have.

To say we "played golf" would be a little bit of an exaggeration, though my son insisted on putting out on every hole. Mostly I just let my wife play while I corralled the kid and hit an occasional iron shot into the green and then we would all head to the putting surface and putted. He would go and grab the flagstick- remove it- and then drop his ball about a foot away from the hole. I'm not sure how he manged to miss shot after shot from that close- but he pulled it off- but the unbridled joy he experienced when sinking a putt was a thrill. Clearly we've been watching too much hockey as a family- because as my wife and I would putt up- he'd stand by the hole and enthusiastically kick our balls away. Of course- none of this action held a flicker of fun compared to the golf cart ride. Fast, faster and downhill as fast as possible were the accepted speeds for the little man. Watching his blond wispy hair blow straight back while capturing bug after bug in his grinning open mouth was worth the price of admission (which thankfully was low).

Tips For First Time Golf With A Young Child

1) Go late. We teed off at about 5:45pm. We didn't expect to get more than 6 or 7 holes in. We were the last people on the course though- which made our shenanigans no big deal. When playing with a 23 month old- he more or less decides when you're done with a hole... unless you want to fight.

2) Get usable Clubs. It's really hard to find clubs a 2 year old can use- but they're out there. If you really want him or her to learn the game and have fun- you have to get them something they can work with. US Kids is the big brand in the space- though I actually went with a company called "Acculength" (eBay for $35) which allows for spacers to be put into clubs so you can "grow" the club along with the child allowing them to last longer. They also seemed to have the shortest starting clubs. My child is smaller for his age and while the clubs are still an inch or two too long- he can legitimately swing them.

3) Find a dogtrack. I've been golfing with friends when it was there first or second time out- and it was a miserable experience. When anyone doesn't know simple rules and golf etiquette it can lead to embarrassment so find a course where it is impossible to care. The course I played yesterday was the worst course I've ever played in my life. I'm not going to link it though- because it doesn't deserve the shame. It was PERFECT for this situation. The holes hadn't been cut in at least a week. The fairways would've been better mowed by a herd of goats and the teeboxes were just slabs of dirt with a couple white and red markers on them. But it was perfect- when the kid would stick his putter head into the cup and beat it all up- I didn't have to care.

4) Find a Coupon. I used a coupon book, buy 1 get one 1 round so the whole family went golfing with a cart for $18. It was well worth that experience- but paying double that would've been overkill.

5) Take Your Clubs, but not expectations of using them. If I would've gone with the mindset of playing golf yesterday- the whole experience would've been awful. I took about 10 shots and didn't complete a single hole. Your child needs to see you do some stuff and enjoying it- to have something to emulate- but you can't go out there thinking they're going to golf with you. You are going to watch them and teach.

6) Quit early. Just because normal golf is 9 or 18 holes doesn't mean taking a child needs to be. We "played" parts of 8 holes yesterday- but probably did the equivalent of about 5. Obviously the age of the child at the time of first experience matters- but anytime you're introducing someone new to the game (even adults) you need to keep in mind how frustrating and long the entire process seems to them.

Okay- enough about me- because I want to hear from you. I'm sure many of you have stories and tips about the first time you've taken you kids (or family members) golfing. Let's hear them in the comments!

[ comments ]
mjaber says:
I haven't yet. I think I need to wait until my daughter can walk. I plan to make her first trip to a golf course to the local pitch & putt. 9 holes totalling less than 1000 yards. I can't think of a better starting point.
GolfinHawg says:
There is a course in town that has a Wee Course (3 Holes), Kids play free with a parent or adult. My 8 year old loves to go out there and play golf with me. He hits 7 iron I hit LW on the holes. Helps my short apporach shots and he loves to try and beat me. Best day ever out there was when he actually got his first real par (no gimmies or do overs) The smile and joy he had for the rest of teh day was worth it.
bkuehn1952 says:
Never played with anyone that young but your advice is spot on.

When my grand daughter was young, I would pack a picnic. After 5 holes we would pull over under a tree and have lunch while everyone else played on. Once a gap opened up, we would finish. We always played a 2-person scramble to speed things along.
gpickin says:
My wife had an interesting experience with our 10 and 12 year old.
She went in the middle of the day, which she learnt was not a good idea.
They were rushing them... but when they fluked a tee shot at the par 3 and landed on the green scaring the putters that no one thought they'd get near, they eased up a little on the rushing.
Lucky you get more than 3 strikes in golf, or the boys might have had trouble after 20 swings :) One of the old pros out watching the pace of play took them under their wing, and they surprisingly listened to him, because when me or mom say it, we dont know a thing about golf :)

They enjoyed it... which is great, but my wife barely hit 10 strokes as well.
We're ready for the next time out.
dottomm says:
I just took my reluctant 9 yo daughter for a ride in the golf course for 9-holes yesterday. It was a blast for me, and even though she said it was boring, she loved driving the cart. I think what really stuck with her was while waiting for our tee-time I told her if she could make three putts in a row greateer or equal to 4 feet I'd give her a dollar. She practiced non-stop for 20 minutes until she sunk three in a row. Don't tell her this, but I think she was having FUN.

I have a 3yo son who loves golf, but has no intention of following direction or etiquette. I think it'll be a while before I take him.
Blakevt says:
I take my 6 year old a few times a year, bring some old shag balls and take a few minutes to hit them into a water hazard, kids love it.
Clint24 says:
Acculength is our junior club sets that we love. The clubs 'grow' with the child, so you do not have to purchase a new set every year or so. These can last a kid anywhere from 2 years to about 4.

And for getting kids involved, dont ever push them to be the next Tiger. All you have to do is take them to a range and let them hit ball after ball. Just keep the kid interested. Its amazing to see how many fathers try to teach a 3yr old how to hit a ball properly. LET THE KID HAVE FUN!!! Once they get older, if they still are intersted, sign them up for a junior camp. Let them learn the right way, from a professional. At RCG, we try to perfect out junior section, everything from clubs to shoes and camps, so please dont think I'm just throwing this all out there.

Hope he enjoys the game!!
ericsmi says:
When my son was about 7, my dad was visiting us, so he and I took my son to a local pitch and putt par 3 course. The mistake we made was letting him "beat" us, he truly believed two men who played golf for fun could actually 10 putt a green. He recounted that story for quite some time until I finally had to tell him that we let him win.

It is very hard to play a par three course badly enough to let a 7 year old "beat" you!
GameDayDog says:
My son is awesome. My girlfriend is an HGTV freak, so she looked at the houses. My son was 16 months old and loved it when I drove the cart. He rode in my girlfriends lap and we started out as a single. I played 9 holes and he ate cheerios & drank apple juice. He was even quiet during tee shots when I joined another player on the fourth hole. We had a great time. Last month, I let him loose on a miniature golf course. For him, every swing is a full swing. I'll take him to the putting green so he can watch me putt more. Telling him to put it in the hole, he picks it up and drops it into the cup. No complaints. Just typing this makes me smile. I hope he keeps playing so we can golf together. Right now, he cries when I put my clubs in the trunk without getting him dressed. I love being a father, I love playing golf. Putting them together is an amazing experience.
mmontisano says:
my 4 year old son loves hitting the mini golf course. when he got his first hole-in-one, you should have seen him. i also took him to a driving range for his birthday and i swear, if we didn't run out of balls, he would have been there all day. right now, i'm just letting him swing the club and have fun with it. he has a split grip right now (like holding a hockey stick), but we'll eventually get to that.
i think he's more of a range rat though, like his dad. when i took him to an executive course, he had had enough after about 5 holes. i think it may have been the bathroom break in the bushes that did him in. it was cold and windy that day and i'm sure it feel too good.
mmontisano says:
i'm sure it didn't feel too good. sorry, had to fix that.
white_rabbitt says:
Had almost the exact same experience w/ my 3 y/o and wife last fall! He had been begging me to take him out to a "real" course and it was his first time. We were the last group of the day and we all had a blast teeing off and then running to the green to putt out. (ok, my son was doing most of the running) The boy can play some speed golf! He ran to every shot. He's already very excited to go out again. I love how much fun he's having w/ it.
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