By: Steve aka “TradeIn”
If you are hopelessly addicted to golf like me, and you have kids- you want to share the joy/misery of golf with them as soon as humanly possible.
Ever since my daughter was born, I started planting the seeds for her to be my partner in crime on the links one day. On Saturday. I was able to take my daughter (who just turned 4 in September) to play Moose Ridge in South Lyon, Michigan for her first time on a golf course.
It can be nerve-racking to take your child to the golf course, so here are my Top 5 tips for a great first round:
1. Who Needs College Football?: Book a tee time when you know the course will be rather empty, like on a college football Saturday in the fall. Go during the week if possible, or early/late season (I’m in Michigan where we only have a 6 month season). Call the Pro Shop and make sure the course knows you are bringing a little one. You may want to ask them for an ideal tee time. Bonus: Fall golf in Michigan is beautiful, and you may get some killer leaf peeping your round as well.
2. Bring a Non-Golfing Family Member: Find a course that allows non-golfing riders. The course may charge a rider fee, but it will be well worth the cost (For example, Moose Ridge charges $20). I played with my Dad (who took me golfing when I was a young lad), and my Mom joined us as a non-golfing rider. She was able to focus her attention on my daughter, who has a tendency to run everywhere she goes. I have enough to worry about with the state of my golf game… I don’t want to be nervous about her whereabouts when I’m fighting a slice off the tee box.
3. Drive for Show, Putt for Dough: I heard this on a podcast… I think it was the Erik Anders Lang Show (great golf podcast btw… Instagram @erikanderslang ). Start them off on the green first. Don’t be too aggressive when it comes to your having your little one trying to play from tee to green. Golf is hard. You want their first experience to be fun, not club toss city… (she didn’t really mean to throw the club😂).
Before you hit the links, get them fitted for a putter at your local golf shop (Carl’s Golfland for us https://www.carlsgolfland.com) and let them pick out a colorful ball (like a Volvik). My daughter was so excited to have her own putter (USKids Golf Jekyll), and some pink and red Volviks that she would run up to the hole, and put the ball a foot away and… its in the hole!!!!!
4) Bring Books or Other Entertainment: My Mom came through in the clutch and brought some Halloween books to read, while my Dad and I were hacking away at the course. My daughter watched me stripe a drive down the middle on the 1st tee (proud Dad moment), but at some point she figured out I’m not exactly Tommy Fleetwood (her favorite golfer), and read books with Grandma in between sinking putts.
5) Don’t Worry, be Happy: (Sorry for the Bobby McFerrin reference, we just saw Hotel Transylvania 3)… Don’t worry about your score, just enjoy the moment. Every golfer wants to score well, but this time it’s not about you. Don’t drop your usual F-Bomb or have a Jon Rahm moment in front of your kid. Keep the outbursts and shots of Fireball where they belong: Men’s League.
~Ben Hogan once said, “As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round.” Heed his advice and soak in every minute with your son or daughter on the course.
*Shout out to the staff at Moose Ridge Golf Course. They were awesome with my daughter and even gave her a little souvenir ball marker and divot tool. I will remember that for the rest of my life, and although it’s a drive for me, I will make it a point to play there and recommend the course to others as much as possible. It is also a great course at a reasonable price, here is the link: http://www.mooseridgegolf.com
I hope this helps you Dads (and golf Moms) out there to have a great first experience with your little golfer. Let’s grow the game together!