Learning to Golf, Basics For Juniors

When learning to golf, kids need to master the basic fundamentals and mechanics. This goes for anyone wanting to take up golf. Some top professionals may not look that good and have funny looking swings like Jim Furyk but they understand the importance of having a sound grip, good set up, smooth tempo and great balance.

Many times I get asked, at what age should my kid be learning to golf?

My answer is, as soon as they can stand! Get them some plastic clubs to knock around with. It is also a great idea to let them watch golf on TV as often as possible. Buying some instructional DVD'S is also a good alternative.

Kids learn through imitating others and this should be used to the fullest extent. Now let's take a closer look at what fundamentals kids should learn first.

Golf Grip for Juniors

I suggest that kids under 8 years old adopt a hammer grip when learning to golf. It's easy to do, for right handed players hold your left arm out in front of your chest and clench your fist with your thumb facing the sky. Now point your thumb straight to the sky. Your hand is now in the hitch hiker position.

Now hold your left thumb with your right hand as shown in the second picture. That's the hammer grip or 10 finger grip as it is also known. For lefties reverse you hands, now the left hand will hold the right thumb.

When the grip is taken on the club the palms must face square to or 90 degrees to the target line, the same as the club face. See the grip and posture here.
The grip plays a very important role in learning to golf, the hands control the club and specifically the club head. Any deviations with the hand positions will change the club face angle at impact.

Posture, Stance and Swing Plane

Good posture gives you balance and helps to turn the body correctly and keep the arms and club on plane. Focus should be on getting the shaft parallel to the ground at the top of the backswing.

Most young kids take the shaft too far past the parallel and lose control of the swing. This will be most noticeable if the club is too heavy for them or they bend the left arm too much.

Balance and Finish Position

Good balance plays a vital role in creating a fluid swing motion. Balance has to be maintained during the swing motion to be able to finish the swing. Most kids in the beginning lose balance and have a tendency to hit at the ball instead of through it.

When learning to golf a kid should try to finish each shot on balance with the body turned over the left foot. Check for any movement of the left foot during the swing. It should not spin out but stay in the original position as it was at address.

This finish position on the right is an important position to hold for a few seconds as it gives a feeling of perfect balance. You will seldom hit a bad shot when you can finish the swing as shown in the photo.

Teach your Kids Putting

This part of learning to golf is probably the most important because it accounts for 40 percent of your score. It is a very easy motion to do and can be done at home on a carpet. Take a look here for some putting drills and tips.

To the Golf Course

The best place in learning to golf is on the golf course. If the golf course is a full length golf course it is going to be very long for a kid, so making your own pars is a good idea.

For example if a hole is a 300 yard par 4, you have 2 choices. Either make the hole shorter for them and play as a par 4, (by letting them tee up down the fairway) or make the hole a par 6 or 7 and let them play from the ladies tee.

This is important from a confidence aspect. If kids see that the distance of the hole looks realistic to them according to what par you make it then they will go for it. This will breed confidence and motivate then to improve and even go for a birdie(5) on the hole that you made a par 6.

Change par 3's to a par 4 and par 5's to a par 7. I do believe that there are shorter courses for juniors to play but only in a few locations so this is the next best option.

Most importantly each hole must be completed till the last putt has dropped. No gimmies!!

Learning to golf will teach juniors to have a lot of fun and learn more about themselves in the process.

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