With all eyes on Augusta for the iconic golf tournament, now is the perfect opportunity to introduce youngsters to the game.
As days grow lighter for longer this side of the pond, we look to Georgia to be inspired by the world's finest players.
And what better time to encourage children into the sport which offers great physical exercise as well as mental health benefits?
According to the Golf Foundation, 2019-2020 saw a 35 per cent increase in junior membership at GolfSixes League clubs; an 11 per cent increase in affiliated membership at HSBC Golf Roots Centres; a one percent increase in overall junior membership across clubs in Scotland; and a 3.9 per cent rise in girls junior membership in Wales.
During that period, the charity funded 437 golf clubs in England and Wales to deliver taster sessions in schools and provide a pathway into membership at the golf facilities.
In 2020/21, the number funded was 248. The Golf Foundation's impact report for that period, which took account of the pandemic, noted that although the participation figures were substantially lower than the previous year, the percentage of young people staying in the sport and becoming members showed a significant increase.
So golf appears to be growing in popularity among children and young people.
But if you're still wondering how to get started, GolfSupport.com has put together advice for parents who want to encourage their children to play golf.
Five tips to get children into golf
1 Make it a short game
If you don’t have a golf course near you catered to children, there is no reason you can’t use the adult course. What if it’s an 18-hole course? If your children are ready after nine holes to finish the game, then that’s great. The key to keeping your children entertained is to keep the game short. There’s nothing worse than dragging your children round the course for a five-hour stint when they were bored after two.
2 Provide them with the right equipment
Too long, too stiff and too heavy are some of the common problems with clubs for children. There are a lot of variations of what you can use on the golf course suitable for your child’s needs. You must make sure before starting a game that your child has the right club relative to their height and stamina, so they can maximise their swing to the best of their ability. If you’re unsure, visit your nearest golfing retailer and ask a member of staff in person what they would recommend for your child to use.
3 Give them time to perfect their swing
The key to anything in life is practice. Children are notoriously better at gripping a sport from a young age, as their attention to detail and perfection is greater, as they learn the ropes. So, when you introduce your child to golf, make sure to give them enough time to practice, perhaps taking them later in the evening or at a time when it’s not crowded. The last thing you want is to play and hold up groups behind you.
4 Keep it fun and criticism low
As serious and prestigious golf may be to an adult, to a child, it’s just another sport to grasp. Your child wants to have fun and enjoy their time with you. Even if your child hits an ‘okay’ shot, shout back at them ‘great shot’, or ‘great swing’, to encourage a continuation of play. The more you play as a parent with your children, the more honest you can be with their play.
5 Speak in their language
Children need to comprehend an idea before they can attempt it. As a parent or adult guiding a child around the course, you must learn to be patient as you explain to them in childlike terms how to play a game. Instead of using complicated terminology, switch it up to something they would understand, relative to their age.