Living in the Lowcountry is a great place for juniors to get involved in golf. Golf is a lifetime sport, and this summer is a perfect time to begin a junior’s journey into the game.
Why golf over other sports? First, golf is a non-contact sport, so the junior will be unlikely to incur an injury. With concussions occurring in other sports, golf is a great alternative.
Any child, large or small, male or female, can learn to play the game with proper instruction and equipment.
Golf also helps teach some of life’s lessons such as honesty, responsibility, self-discipline and playing by the rules. Golfers must learn how to call penalties on themselves, because there is no referee in this game.
When it comes to instruction, parents need to leave the teaching to golf professionals. If the junior is a beginner, find a program that is both instructional and fun. The program should include the basic fundamentals and skills such as putting, chipping, pitching and full swing.
There should also be opportunities to get the junior out on the golf course. The teaching of etiquette and basic rules is a must if the junior is going out on the course.
Finally, it is important to get the proper equipment for your junior. Cutting down an adult set is the worst thing you can do. The shaft actually becomes stiffer when you cut it down, and the club head becomes heavier.
Also the grips on an adult club are too big for a junior. Juniors who have clubs that are too stiff or too long end up swinging the club very flat, and the club will typically bottom out before the ball. This will cause a lot of frustration for the junior.
A junior doesn’t need a full set of clubs. U.S. Kids has sets in nine different lengths, with a fairway driver, 8 iron, wedge and putter to start them out. To get fitted, you need to measure the junior’s height.
Another company that caters to the junior golfer is Wilson with four different size sets.
I have a fitting chart and clubs at Rose Hill Golf Club and would be glad to fit any junior free of charge.
Also Rose Hill has a summer special for juniors where they play for their age with a paying adult. U.S. Kids clubs will be available in all sizes, free of charge, for the junior to use while they are playing.
Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at Brown Golf Management courses. jean.golfdoctor.harris @gmail.com; www.golfdoctorjean.com