My child is taking an interest in golf. What should I do next?

So you’re an avid golfer and — joy of joys — your child seems to have caught the golf bug, too. Great news, except when you have no idea what to do next. Enter GOLF.com’s resident low-handicappers, who share their advice about how to nurture your child’s interest in the game...

1. Keep a light touch

Dylan Dethier (+3.3 handicap): First of all, don’t panic. There’s a good chance your kid will be his or her own best coach, and the best way to develop is often by osmosis. Take ‘em to the range, or to the course, and make it clear that you’re supportive but that you’re not going to offer any tips. It should be fun, after all.

Next, see if any local pros are offering junior clinics. Signing up for one of these can often kill two birds with one stone: Your child will get some affordable instruction and they might find some golf buddies, too.

Mostly, make sure that they’re having fun playing golf. The more fun it is to be out there, the more they’ll work out ways to improve on their own. That sort of learning always works best, anyway.

2. Spot the bad habits early

Luke Kerr-Dineen (2.5 handicap): There are three bad habits that form among new golfers, so nip them in the bud early and your child will thank you later:

Bad fundamentals: In many ways, your golf swing is a direct response to your fundamentals. Make sure your child has good fundamentals and they’ll have a good golf swing. Get off on the wrong foot and they’ll ingrain swing issues from day one.

Ill-fitting clubs: If your child’s clubs are too heavy, too short or too long, they will need to compensate just to make a swing. Equipment is supposed to help, not make life more difficult, so if your child is starting to take golf seriously, talk to a good clubfitter like our friends over at TrueSpec and invest in a fitting.

Thinking too much: Golf is hard and weird for beginners. Just hit the ball.

3. Keep it fun

Ashley Mayo (3.1 handicap): The most important thing you can do, as a parent to a kid who’s expressing an interest in golf, is to keep it fun. Make sure your child enjoys practicing and playing, then link him or her up with a nearby teacher or coach who can teach the proper fundamentals. Focus on expressing great interest in your child’s golf game by asking questions about recent practice sessions or rounds, and remember to keep it all light-hearted and fun.

4. Focus on fundamentals

Zephyr Melton (5.5 handicap): Find a coach that can teach them and keep a watchful eye yourself to make sure they have a good grounding in the fundamentals: grip, posture and setup. That doesn’t mean perfect fundamentals, but it does mean making sure your child sets up to the ball correctly, with their hands linked with standard grip, and their feet planted in a stable way on the ground. From there, just let them go out and have fun. Don’t let anything be too serious — it’s just a game after all!

Dylan Dethier

Dylan Dethier

Golf.com Editor

Dylan Dethier is a senior writer for GOLF Magazine/GOLF.com, The Williamstown, Mass. native joined GOLF in 2017 after two years scuffling on the mini-tours. Dethier is a 2014 graduate of Williams College, where he majored in English, and he’s the author of 18 in America, which details the year he spent as an 18-year-old living from his car and playing a round of golf in every state.

Luke Kerr-Dineen

Golf.com Contributor

Luke Kerr-Dineen is the Game Improvement Editor at GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com. In his role he oversees all the brand’s service journalism spanning instruction, equipment, health and fitness, across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms.

An alumni of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina–Beaufort golf team, where he helped them to No. 1 in the national NAIA rankings, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to pursue his Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University and in 2017 was named News Media Alliance’s “Rising Star.” His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.

Golf.com Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for GOLF.com where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF.com, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and is the staff’s self-appointed development tour “expert.”

Ashley Mayo
Golf.com

Mayo is GOLF’s Editorial Director and oversees the brand’s vision and strategy. Whether content lives digitally or in print, Mayo ensures that its standards live up to those established by GOLF’s chairman. Before joining the GOLF team, Ashley spent 11 years as an editor at Golf Digest. While there, she earned her Masters degree from Columbia’s School of Journalism. Before joining Golf Digest, Mayo competed on the first-ever women’s golf team at the University of Virginia. She is also the Head of Brand at GOLF’s parent company, 8AM Golf.