Junior Golf Development: Develop the Athlete First
by Crystal Morse, PGA
I have many parents who contact me on a daily basis about introducing their young children to the game of golf and in my opinion – THE YOUNGER THE BETTER! There is no golden age for introducing a child to golf, you don’t have to ‘wait until they are 7 or 8’ to introduce them to this great game. And you definitely don’t have to wait that long to get them started properly via private or group instruction.
So maybe you have a young golfer or you want to do things at home that will help your child as they grow in this wonderful game. My biggest advice to you is to Develop the Athlete First. What does this mean? It means introduce your child to things that will help their athletic development – this includes running, jumping, throwing and catching to name a few. I am not an advocate of overloading children with extra-curricular activities, but I am all about playing multiple sports at a rec league level (does that exist anymore??). Anything with hitting or striking – tennis or baseball/softball are good starters. Developing hand/eye coordination is very important when starting golf! Other sports such as basketball and soccer are also very good because they develop speed and lower body strength.
You do NOT need to load your calendar with these sports – they can be done at home, as a family, for fun! Go to the park or in your backyard and throw or kick the ball around, play ping pong, have your child create an obstacle course and have them maneuver at different paces (hop, jump, skip, crawl, etc). Anything to develop athletic skills!
Even for highly skilled youth golfers, there is proven research that shows that if, as a young player, they do not develop basic athletic skills, there will likely be proficiencies in their game as they develop.
So, you heard it from me – start your child in golf at a young age and have them play a multitude of sports as they grow!
Crystal Morse is a US Kids Certified Coach, TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) Certified and going through TPI Junior Level 2 Certification. She also was the recipient of the PGA Youth Player Development Award for the Indiana Section in 2019. Crystal has a passion for Junior Golf Development and offers a variety of junior programs at The Legends.