While I’m familiar with research that shows the countless ways a young person can benefit from playing sports, it’s the wisdom my dad shared with me that reinforces what I believe are the top 3 reasons why kids should play golf.
Golf participation in the United States most likely began during the Colonial Period. Over the past 200 plus years, the number of on-course golfers in the U.S. has grown to over 24 million. Junior golfers (ages of 6-17) comprise around 10% of the golfing population.
Golf is a lifetime sport and beginning participation as a kid can have lifelong benefits, including the top 3 my dad shared with me.
3. Practice personal responsibility
Sometimes the ball doesn’t always bounce your way. Regardless of the outcome, there is no blaming your teammates for what happens. In golf, kids are personally responsible for preparing and performing. Although there are no guarantees you will shoot a low score or win the tournament, you can walk off the last hole knowing you did everything in your control to give yourself the best opportunity for success.
2. Manage your emotions
Golf often closely parallels real life as one experiences the highs and lows of the game. Through a 3, 6, 9 or 18-hole round of golf, a young person is required to navigate challenges and obstacles that may result in good shots, bad shots and everything in between. This range of experiences throughout the game rewards a young person’s ability to keep each shot in perspective, manage one’s emotions, maintain a positive outlook and focus on the shot at hand.
1. Spend time with family
Golf is a game that encourages family participation. The most common way kids get started playing golf is through a family member.
Research and my own 40-plus years of experience demonstrates that all sports, not just golf, can have a positive impact on kids’ character development and opportunities for success both on and off the course, field, or court. The impact is greater when adults spend time with young people and are intentional about teaching life skills like responsibility and emotional, or self, management through sport.
Through my experiences as an LPGA Professional and college golf coach, as well as my work with The First Tee and LPGA-USGA Girls Golf, I’ve seen first-hand how the impact of golf can start with youth and last a lifetime. Additionally, as part of Team Aureus, I coach and consult with NCAA men’s and women’s golf coaches to develop programs that positively impact their student-athletes.