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Ideas to Get Your Kids Involved in Golf

March 26, 2015

Resources for Teaching Your Kids How to Play Golf

One of the easiest ways to grow the game of golf is to teach it to kids. And some of the most likely Youth Golfcandidates are the children of people who already play – because they’ve already been exposed to the game, and they have easy access to inspired instructors. So, how can parents and other caregivers get kids started playing the game? We have a list of resources that can help.

PGA Resources

For starters, the National PGA has an excellent parents guide that covers several important topics:

  1. First Things First – Having Fun is #1
  2. Before They Pick Up A Club – Principles of the Game
  3. Finding an Instructor
  4. Finding the Right Equipment
  5. Where to Play
  6. What to Wear
  7. Be Realistic

The Minnesota Section has an entire website devoted to junior golf – minnesotajuniorgolf.com. This site is loaded with information for more competitive players, including information on the Beginners/Transition Tour (ages 8-12), the Valspar Junior Tour (ages 13-18) and the Valspar Players Tour (ages 13-19, by invitation only). This site also has links and information about the Drive, Chip and Putt Competition that is co-sponsored by the USGA, PGA and The Masters. That event is open to boys and girls age 7-15 and includes ten local qualifiers in 2015 run by the Section, culminating in a championship final at Augusta National.

Other Resources

Section Professional Brian Simpson is the Executive Director of the First Tee program in St. Paul at the Highland National and Highland 9 golf courses. This program engages young people through a combination of life skills, leadership and golf activities. The life skills component is what sets the First Tee apart from other junior golf programs, teaching the nine core values of Honesty, Integrity, Sportsmanship, Respect, Confidence, Responsibility, Perseverance, Courtesy and Judgment. It also offers a First Tee Parents Guide PDF that can be downloaded here.

The Minnesota Golf Association started a junior golf program in 1961 that now includes more than 900 junior golfers participating in ten districts throughout the state. This competitive program includes four weeks of district competitions, leading to the MGA Junior Team Championship, which will be held August 3-4, 2015 at Rum River Hills Golf Club.

The American Junior Golf Association is another option for competitive junior golf. This 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization is dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. More information on getting started with that group can be found on this page.

The Minnesota Minority Junior Golf Association was founded in 1987 and has a mission to “foster the growth of disadvantaged youth as well as advance the game of golf by providing access to income-earning caddying opportunities, golf lessons, scholarship and other assistance while providing peer and mentor support, and teaching the discipline, sportsmanship, and life skills inherent in the game of golf.” MMJGA can be contacted at (612) 702-1406 for more information on its programs.

Clubs and Courses

Many courses and resorts around the state have incredible junior golf programs. The Chris Foley Golf School runs a wonderful program for kids as young as four out of Cragun’s Resort outside of Brainerd. This sample course description for kids ages 4-7 is representative of its excellent approach:

“FUNdamentals (S.N.A.G. Golf – Starting New At Golf) introduces the concepts of the grip, stance, balance and the swing in a very age-appropriate fashion. The program focuses on basic sports skills such as running, jumping and throwing. Juniors experience success because the equipment is developmentally appropriate and easy to use. The program will introduce the etiquette and safety issues involved with the game”.

Other examples of great junior options at local courses include the City of Rochester junior golf camps, Stonebrooke in Shakopee and the Eagle Lake Youth Golf Center in Plymouth (part of the Three Rivers Park District). Many community education programs around the state also offer inexpensive and fun junior golf options for those just starting out. And don’t discount mini-golf or putt-putt courses – many golfers got their start with giant clowns and green Astroturf while growing up.

The Minnesota Section PGA consists of PGA Professionals who are experts in the game and business of golf. Our mission is to promote the enjoyment and involvement of the game of golf and to contribute to its growth by providing services to golf professionals, the golf industry, people who play golf or would like to start playing golf. PGA Section Offices oversee the 41 geographic regions throughout the United States and provide the grass-roots network for the nation’s 25 million amateur golfers and with the PGA’s 27,000 members.

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