Golfing isn’t just for business associates or teens trying to get a college scholarship; it can be for the family, too!
Golf can be an experience for the entire family, regardless of skill or experience level. It’s a great way to spend time with your family members, while also getting a healthy dose of exercise and sunshine. Teaching kids to golf is also a great way to work on their hand-eye coordination, attention, focus and, of course, persistence.
While learning the skills is important, it’s also imperative to make the game fun and engaging for all. That’s why I’ve provided my best tips for keeping kids excited and involved in the sport and how to prepare for a day on the course with the family.
In order to get familiar with the sport, parents should start taking their kids out on the driving range and putting green first to teach them the fundamentals of the game. This is a great way for kids to learn basic skills such as how to swing the club and aim. I also recommend signing kids up for lessons if they’re interested in learning more. My home course at Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa offers lessons for juniors aged 16 and under who want to better their skills on the course.
Once junior golfers have had an opportunity to learn the basics, it’s time to get the family out on the course. I suggest starting by playing a few holes at first and eventually working your way up to playing a 9-hole round. It’s also a good idea to have children begin playing from 50 yards out rather than from original tee boxes, which helps them work on their short game and feel accomplished when they make a good score. Once new golfers are achieving their goals, I recommend moving the tee back in 25-yard increments to help keep them challenged while they continue to learn the game.
One of the most important tips for spending a successful day on the course with the family, especially in Central Texas, is to make sure to dress for the weather. Most golfing outings entail spending 4 to 5 hours outside, and the weather can change dramatically during that timeframe. I recommend packing jackets for chilly mornings and afternoons if needed. On hot and sunny days, it’s important to wear a hat, sunglasses and plenty of sunscreen to reapply regularly. I also recommend checking with the golf course to see if they have any dress requirements – many locations will require a standard polo shirt and no denim.
Another important tip for a successful day on the course is to always be prepared with snacks and drinks for the entire family. Since a round of golf can take several hours, taking food and water breaks helps to keep everyone energized and hydrated.
One way to make the game fun for everyone involved regardless of skill or experience level is to add an element of friendly competition. My favorite way to do that, especially when golfing with players of different experience levels, is to play a scramble. With this tournament style, each player will hit their tee shot from their designated area and then select the best shot to hit from moving forward, allowing the group to play as a unit until the ball is holed. This style of play helps golfers of all experience levels contribute to the team and ensure a fun golf outing while helping to build confidence in younger golfers.
If younger golfers don’t feel like playing a hole or want a break, being a caddie is always a fun alternative option. This teaches kids how to properly take care of the course by fixing divots in the fairway or on the green, raking bunkers and attending the flag stick while others are putting.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure your day of golfing is one to remember!
About the Author
Ashley Skidmore is the Director of Golf at Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa’s Hill Country Golf Club. With nearly a decade of experience in golf management, Skidmore has worked at several golf clubs throughout the region including Wolfdancer Golf Club at Hyatt Regency Lost Pines, Teravista Golf Club in Round Rock, the Broadmoor in Colorado and Promontory Ranch Golf Club in Utah. She’s received several accolades throughout her career including the 2020 STPGA “Golf Professional of the Year” and the STPGA “Player Development” award in 2017.