6 ways for parents to develop a junior golfer

If you’re a parent trying to get your child to play golf, these youth golf courses are a great place to start developing their skills.

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Welcome to Play Smart, a regular GOLF.com game improvement column dedicated to helping you play smarter, better golf.

As I got older, many of my friends often ask me if there’s a secret recipe for getting kids interested in golf. My response typically tends to enroll them in youth golf lessons where they can learn the basics of the game, work on a variety of swings and situations, and develop a passion for the (often) frustrating sport.

However, since many parents don’t even work with a golf instructor to improve their own game, there’s usually reluctance when I give my answer. Likewise, parents don’t want to spend money on a teacher if their child is disinterested in the game. I find that many parents just want to introduce their children to golf without forcing the sport on them, hoping that the child will naturally enjoy the game.

There’s just one problem with this plan: many parents are afraid of teaching their child the wrong thing, fearing they’ll teach them bad habits or tell them the wrong thing. This makes sense, of course, as many parents are not trained to teach youth golf.

But for those parents who want to play the part of a golf instructor while introducing their child to the golf course, Grayson Zacker – Director of Instruction at Jim McLean Golf Schools – has some helpful tips.

How parents can offer golf lessons for teens at home

Because parents play an important role in their children’s golf development, Zacker says it’s important that they focus on visual learning.

“Children are great visual learners and they learn so much in life by watching their parents. Children of great gamers usually become great gamers themselves, not just because of genetics, but because they copy their parents’ habits and behaviors. You see what it takes to be good.”

But even if the parent isn’t a great golfer, Zacker suggests teaching the youth golf lessons listed below, which will help develop a junior golfer and encourage a better game.

Encourage a love of the game

That should be goal number one. If the child enjoys playing, they will want to spend more time playing and focus on how to get better. The motivation to get better is the key factor for improvement. You will find a way.

One way to shake things up is to incorporate games into practice.

Use putting games, chipping games and various full swing competitions. Develop a competitive spirit early on and they’ll stay motivated to improve. Golf requires a lot of time and patience. So if they’re not having fun, they might burn out and quit.

Expose kids to great golf

Remember the whole “visual learning” thing? This plays off of that idea.

So take your child to a PGA or LPGA Tour event. Go early and watch the players warm up on the range and short game area, and practice the putting green. Join the practice rounds a day or two before the competition where there are fewer crowds so you can get much closer to the players. If you can’t come to an event, watch golf with them on TV.

Finally, try to find good players in your club or in your area and ask them if they will take your child to play and practice.

junior golfer

This is the number one thing junior golfers should focus on


Jessica Marksbury, Renee Trudeau O’Higgins

Encourage practice

First, give your child access to a driving range, short game area and practice putting green. Then teach them to set achievable practice goals where they try to achieve something instead of just hitting balls aimlessly.

Examples of this would be a draw, a fade, a straight shot, hitting the dead center of the face three times in a row, making a handful of five foot putts in a row, or chipping 10 balls within 3 feet of the hole. Consistent practice is the key to improving golf skills.

Bring juniors to the golf course

Book them regular tee times and register them for tournaments. When children are just starting out, it is advisable to start them very close to the hole. Have them tee off 50 yards from the green and learn to count points. Once they can shoot steady par from that distance, they can do 100 yards, then 150, 200, 250, then the red tees and then the white tees.

In this way, they learn the importance of short game and course management for scoring. I usually let them hit a drive from the tee and then pick it up. This only helps them gain some driving practice, but allows them to ignore their distance or landing spot.


Celebrate their successes and help them learn from their mistakes so they can grow and improve. Golf is very challenging – every player makes mistakes and gets frustrated at times. By teaching them to face adversity with an open mind and curiosity, they will see opportunities for improvement.

Never address the bad shots and instead remind them what they did well. This encourages positivity and more good shots.

Find a good trainer

OK, now that the parents have helped stimulate their child’s interest in the sport, it’s time to leave the real teenage golf lessons to a pro so that the young player can develop the technical and mechanical parts of their game . So find a qualified teacher who has experience in developing juniors.

Beginner teachers often teach the junior golf lessons. This is because many experienced coaches do not enjoy teaching children who are not motivated to play. If you follow the advice above as an introduction to the game, your child will be motivated and the best teachers will want to teach them.

For those parents who also play golf, try working on your own game by playing with your kids. You will both enjoy the journey together and form a lifelong bond through a love of golf.

By following this advice and taking a long-term approach to your child’s improvement, better play will be the by-product. By focusing on the process rather than the outcomes, positive efforts can be made.

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Nick Dimengo

Golf.com editor

https://golf.com/instruction/youth-golf-lessons-parents-grayson-zacker/ 6 ways for parents to develop a junior golfer

Ian Walker

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