Developing a Junior Golfer
Posted: 2/15/2017 by Kyle Wolfe

A parent’s role in the development of a junior golfer is extremely critical. All parents want the best for their children. In some cases, certain actions taken with good intentions can have negative consequences. Many parents ask me for assistance in getting their son or daughter started on the right track in junior golf. My hope in writing this is to provide a starting point for success both on the course and in life.

1. Find a qualified coach/mentor  

Would you consider sending your child to school if they had no qualified teachers? Finding a qualified coach/mentor is the starting point for everything. Having a teacher who provides your child with the proper fundamentals will set a foundation for enjoying golf as a junior and as an adult. The challenging part is selecting an appropriate mentor-coach for your child. Here are a couple questions you should be asking when selecting an instructor:

  • What do you think is fundamental to long-term development training from my XXX year-old child?
  • What certifications do you have? This is a measure of the instructor’s willingness to learn and the importance they place on long-term development.
  • Do you specialize in junior golf development? Teaching a junior golfer is much different than teaching an adult.
  • Who are some other junior golfers you have taught and how much have they improved under your guidance? Use this as a reference check and focus more on the improvement instead of the accomplishments of their students.
  • What competitive playing experience do you have?
  • What teaching tools (V1 Swing Analysis, Trackman, etc) do you use? How do you make use of these teaching tools? It is important to understand the resources the instructor has and also to determine if the tools they use match the learning preferences of your son or daughter.
  • What is the frequency you would like to work with my child? The answer will depend on the age/skill of your son or daughter, but this will help you budget the appropriate funds that will be required for instruction.
  • How do you communicate with parents and what type of parental involvement are you looking for? What is the parent's role in development?

    While this is not a complete list, these questions should give you a good understanding of the instructor and if they would be a good fit for your son or daughter.

2. Educate Yourself

There are many great resources available to be the best parent you can be for your son or daughter. As a parent you want to be demanding, but also supportive. Psychologists call this the “authoritative parenting” style. Hold your child to high expectations and they will rise to the occasion. Here are a few books I would recommend reading.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck

This book is not specific to golf, but it talks about developing the proper mindset to be successful on and off the course. By viewing the world and our experiences with a “growth mindset” we put emphasis on the process of learning and development as opposed to the chase for results.

Henry Brunton’s High Performance Golf: The Serious Golfer’s Guide to Effective Training

Widely considered as an expert in junior golf development, Henry Brunton provides a guided tour from the beginning stages of junior golf to professional golf. It is written for both parents and junior golfers and is geared toward serious golfers as the title suggests. If your son or daughter is looking to play college golf, this is a great resource for you.

The next junior blog topic will cover setting goals for the 2017 season and beyond. If you have any questions about junior golf, contact Kyle Wolfe at kwolfe@gam.org or 248-978-9132.

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