When the global pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization in March 2020, parents were left scrambling for fun and healthy ways to keep their kids occupied. Virtual learning sessions replaced days spent in the classroom, and many extracurricular activities were canceled in an attempt to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Parents tried to find activities that kids could enjoy while still adhering to social distancing guidelines, and that led many moms and dads to consider golf.
Golf is an outdoor activity that does not require a large group of people, making it an ideal recreational activity during the era of social distancing – and something they can enjoy well beyond the pandemic. In fact, the number of youth golfers skyrocketed during the first six months of pandemic living. According to Youth on Course, a nationwide program for children between the ages of six and 18 that offers access to more than 1,000 golf courses for a nominal fee, the number of rounds played by program members between January 2020 and July 2020 increased by 76 percent over the same period a year earlier.
Golf isn’t just beneficial during the age of social distancing. It’s also a great way for parents to get kids to exercise and keep them off of their devices as they enjoy the great outdoors. Golf is a difficult game, and that difficulty may discourage some youngsters from playing. However, parents can overcome that hurdle and others as they try to get their kids excited about playing golf.
Enroll kids in a youth organization. An organization like Youth on Course excites many youngsters because they see children their own age playing golf. That means they can go golfing with friends and talk about the game when they’re not on the course. Parents concerned about COVID-19 can let their youngsters play with friends while wearing a mask without risking kids’ health. Public health agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have noted that outdoor activities are significantly safer than indoor gatherings. When wearing a mask outdoors, kids’ risk of getting COVID-19 is even lower.
Get the right gear. PGA of America recommends getting kids a putter and a wedge that are made for kids their height, noting the availability of clubs specifically made for juniors. An age-appropriate wedge is short and easy to get in the air. That should make it easier for kids to play, increasing the chances they’ll enjoy themselves.
Keep it light and fun. Golf can frustrate even the most skilled professionals. It’s important to downplay any frustration kids feel. Parents playing alongside their children must avoid growing frustrated if their own rounds aren’t going well. PGA of America advises parents to not put any expectations on youngsters as they learn the game, focusing instead on how much fun it is to play a round at a beautiful course.