The game of golf can teach a person many things about themselves such as patience, persistence, discipline, integrity, and humility. Learning to put a little ball in a hole in the ground may seem like a useless endeavor for some, but just like many sports, games, or pastimes the game of golf offers the participant rewards beyond the obvious. We see the professionals on television making millions of dollars, and we know the industry of golf reaches all corners of the world, but it never gets old to see the face of any golfer – young or old, professional or novice – when they’ve successfully pulled off their intended shot.
Children love to play with sticks and balls of all kinds, and perhaps the game of golf legitimizes this “natural instinct” for adults. Golf has been a refuge from the trials of life – a healthy drug for some. It has kept some focused on achieving a goal through practice and competition. The game has even rewarded some with the opportunity to go to college when other avenues weren’t available. After title IX was passed universities offering men’s golf scholarships must now offer women the same amount. Getting your daughter a college golf scholarship has never been easier often all she will need is a handicap of 2 or 3.
Start your children / beginners out at the hole – learning to make small putts, then longer ones. Next teach them to learn to get the ball close to the hole just off the green with short pitch shots – reinforce the fact that the name of the game is to get the ball in the hole. Everyone wants to hit the ball hard, which is fun for all – and is a nice stress relief, but learning to hit the ball where you want is even more important.
A good place to start – especially for younger kids, is the 18-hole putting course at the Kapalua Golf Academy – it’s free for kids with a paid adult! They also offer a public driving range, and a 3 hole short course (walking only). This is a great place for kids and beginners, without having to pay large green fees or take all day to play a round (remember the younger kids have shorter attention spans). They also have a keiki Golf Clinic every Thursday 3:30pm-4:45pm (ages 7-17 years) which is $60/month but also includes unlimited practice balls for the range. When the time is right, go see a PGA Professional for the correct instruction, and a plan for achieving your goals. Golf is a fun family activity and a great bonding experience.
Other good and affordable courses for kids are Maui Country Club (open to the public on Mondays), and the county course – Waiehu Golf Course (kids must be 7 years). Many Courses also offer free or reduced fees for juniors.
Image Credit: Bradley James Bowen PGA