Games to play on the course with my lad?

BunkerPlayer

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My lad (9 in a couple of months) is really starting to show an interest now so fingers crossed my dream of booking golf hotels every holiday and having the perfect excuse to always play is still alive. I've noticed if I take him out on the course he seems to hit the ball much better than on a Sim / Range and I think its just because he's more engaged.

Our course (like most) is near enough a ghost town after 5/6pm (particularly on weekends) and there is a a few loops I could do with him but I'm wondering if anyone has any games they have done with juniors to make it more fun?. Whenever we've done it I've just let him tee off half way up the hole and not really put any competitive spin on things but I think with my lad having a target on each hole would keep things interesting?

I'm thinking of trying things like:

  • Getting to within 40 - 70 yards of my shot on the fairway and saying if he gets it past my ball he wins a point etc.
  • Making a Par 5 a par 10 for him and if he gets it under 10 then he wins the hole. (Again moving his tee shot right down the hole when needed)

Any suggestions which have worked with your kids? I'm really trying to get the balance right because although I am obsessed with the game I don't want to push it too much and him end up not liking it - he's showing more and more interest though so at the same time I want to take every opportunity to get out there and keep him off his Ipad / Games :rolleyes:
 

Backache

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One thing I did with my son was play scrambles with him, so they are playing the hole with you but you can use either shot so you are both contributing or perhaps a greensome and see what you can score together.
 

BunkerPlayer

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One thing I did with my son was play scrambles with him, so they are playing the hole with you but you can use either shot so you are both contributing or perhaps a greensome and see what you can score together.
great idea, no win or loss then, its a team thing... also I could purposely (👀) not hole the putt leaving it 2 inches short for him to take the glory ha
 

HPIMG

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My son is just turned 10 and I find he’s pretty good from 80/100 yards out so I take him to par 3 places mostly and just give him a extra shot on a hole I’m mean 😂 but my son is very competitive so he will win a couple of holes and he’s buzzing sometimes but not always I’ll miss my puts just to give him a boost.
 

Lord Tyrion

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I would break holes down with my son. When he was younger, make it a competition from 150yds and in. As he got older we would play little 3 holes challenges. 1-3, reset, 4-6, reset and so on.

Get to within reach of the green, challenge him to hit the green more often than you.

Basically, make the course and the holes shorter for them whilst size and length is against them. Keeps it fun, less intimidating.
 
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Take him half way down the fairway and give him 2/3 shots per hole (whatever number will make it competitive) option is always there too miss a few putts to ensure the game is close
 

Slab

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Don't throw a putt, better he sees something to aspire to/impress him rather than what the yips might look like

Give him plenty shots to get nett par/shorten holes etc if playing singles or (as said) team up to 'beat the course' (although scramble maybe not the best to be taking too many of your shots)
 

BunkerPlayer

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Don't throw a putt, better he sees something to aspire to/impress him rather than what the yips might look like

Give him plenty shots to get nett par/shorten holes etc if playing singles or (as said) team up to 'beat the course' (although scramble maybe not the best to be taking too many of your shots)
Yeah agree, I think alternate shots would be a really good way of doing it
 

Mel Smooth

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I dont think I ever specifically tried to implement ‘fun’ into the game for Jamie. Just played shorter courses and off the front tees of course. He played his first 18 holes when he was 7, and despite having a lot of shots, seemed to enjoy it.

We used to play for 50p on some holes, or offer him a treat such as a maccie d’s for certain milestones. Dont worry if some days he doesnt enjoy it, they get cold, frustrated, bored sometimes - it happens. Just keep him interested until his teenage years, and if he’s still playing then he’ll start hitting it adult distances - thats when they really get the bug.
 

Golf is fun

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Your post inspired me to create an account and add some experiences here. I have an 8 year old daughter who is really getting into the game now, so whilst your mileage may vary here are a few things I did:

  • Let the child decide when enough is enough at first, if they only want to play a couple of holes, that's fine. Also allow there to be some kind of reward, this could be as simple as getting crisps and a drink in the clubhouse after playing, or if a milestone was achieved something small from the pro shop like a ball marker or log ball. Even without playing, make the golf club in general a fun place to be going to.
  • I let her tee off from a distance where she could reach the green in 1-3 shots depending on what par we set for the hole. mostly it would be 2 shots, make the distance relative to the skill level, although most kids comps for that age group would have par 4s around 180-250 for reference.
  • I made up pars based on her skill level, and set them so she had a chance to beat them. Initially this meant something like however many shots I think she could reach the green in then add 4 to allow for a not yet developed short game. As she improved this number came down.
  • Make appropriate adjustments based on skill level, to keep motivation. At first I used to move balls out the rough, knowing she wouldn't have the strength or speed to advance them, as she improved I did this less.
  • I tried to find kids around the same age for her to play with. Whilst she loves playing with her dad, obviously hanging around with "old people" only goes so far. If you're around the SE happy to play with you guys.
  • Find junior competitions and get stuck in. These don't have to be as daunting as they sound - most counties run some entry level comps with very relaxed rules, max 9 on a hole, 2 attempts out bunkers then can throw the ball etc..
  • Find a local club with a junior academy if you can, and even better get involved with golf sixes. These are super relaxed 6 hole competitions played in a team format. Teas put out a few pairs playing in a 2 person scramble format with the above relaxed rules in place.
Hopefully that's useful to you.
 

Hacked

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I saw a clip of Padraig Harrington saying that with youngsters beginning to play, always finish and leave while they still want more. -I liked the idea although not always easy when you are working your way back to the clubhouse or car park.
 

HeftyHacker

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I saw a clip of Padraig Harrington saying that with youngsters beginning to play, always finish and leave while they still want more. -I liked the idea although not always easy when you are working your way back to the clubhouse or car park.

Rick shiels has said the same with his kids - when at the range he always limits the balls so that they run out before they get bored so that they want to come back.

We used to play for 50p on some holes, or offer him a treat such as a maccie d’s for certain milestones.

This has reminded me of when I used to play football - I was a striker and my rewards used to be a maccies if I scored or a good assist, large maccies for 2 or a KFC if I got a hat-trick.

He obviously knew what motivated me as I ended up being pretty prolific 😂.

The bellowing shout of "large six nuggets meal lad!" became a running joke with my teammates.

Also probably explains my username now!
 
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Something else just came to mind they run comps up here in Scotland for kids on par 3 courses and it’s a 36 shot comp, you basically tee off on number 1 and hit 36 shots, you then put a flag or mark on the course where you got to in your 36 shots.
It limits how long they play for so no boredom and gives something to try and beat next time you play.
Something like that may work
 

BiMGuy

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I would be very cautious rewarding outcomes such as scores.

Much better to reward efforts/not giving up.

Out some of the junior articles on here.

 

sunshine

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his has reminded me of when I used to play football - I was a striker and my rewards used to be a maccies if I scored or a good assist, large maccies for 2 or a KFC if I got a hat-trick.

He obviously knew what motivated me as I ended up being pretty prolific 😂.

The bellowing shout of "large six nuggets meal lad!" became a running joke with my teammates.

Also probably explains my username now!

Although this is a funny story, in hindsight training a child to aspire to KFC is probably not the best way to ingrain healthy eating habits 🤣
 

GreiginFife

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When my son started playing at 7 I just let him hit it however he wanted to and let him find his own feet. No pressure on him, just work with what he had. Once he got a feel for it started to look at things like grip and stance. It was only then we started talking about par and scores and the things that put pressure on your game and thinking.

This meant that he was more prepared for those pressures and was less frustrated when it didn't go well as he'd already experienced playing badly without that stress.

He's 14 now, plays off 5 and refuses to play off the junior tees :D. Just cost me a set of T150's for him for getting below 7 which was his target (he just wanted to be lower than me - well mission accomplished son!).

I will point out though that having a grandad that's a pro has helped him a bit. And I can only assume that it's his grandad's influence as he never listens to me anyway!
 

Doon frae Troon

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My daughter started playing aged 6.

I would walk 3 or 4 holes with her. I never played alongside her at the beginner stage
Pacing out longest drive for a 'record drive',
Counting 'record' scores for the holes she played [1st 8 / 1st 6 etc]
Kids that age love breaking records.
Do not dwell on swing coaching, just let them 'bash' it
Show them how to play bunker shots plus etiquette, safe place to stand etc, they soon learn.
ALWAYS keep it lighthearted and fun.

She got her first handicap 43 aged 8, ELGA had recently introduced an official 45 handicap for girl beginners. [at that time ELGA were years ahead of EGU at promoting junior golf]
Aged 13 she was playing off 3.

43 years on from starting.......... she is still a decent 4 handicap and recently won her counties Champion of Champions match play.
 

garyinderry

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My wee girl is 5 next week. We have been on putting greens since she could walk.
She now gets cranky if I don't take her to the range when I go.
She's got the bug.
We are going to try a pitch and putt this summer.
I think she's more than ready for it.

 
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