Supporting your child in playing golf
Firstly, thank you for supporting the journey of your youngster into the game of golf. Whether you are a parent, grandparent, guardian, auntie, uncle, or sibling – your support is crucial to their participation.
We recognise that it can sometimes be daunting trying to understand what to do, particularly if you don’t play golf yourself.
This guide covers the general information but if your have any questions or aren’t sure, just get in touch – we’re here to help.
Guidance for supporting junior golfers on the course
We want to ensure that the experience of all youngsters into golf is enjoyable, fun and safe, while nurturing them and giving them the confidence to become a regular golfer.
Its not always easy knowing how to best support a young golfer particularly on the course. Working with the Golf Foundation as an HSBC Golf Roots Centre of Excellence, we have provided this document to help guide you accordingly.
- There is no requirement to teach the young golfers how to play, swing, etc. Parents/guardians/wider family may spectate but we request that they do not coach or aid the juniors with playing their shots (e.g., lining up putts, aim, swing, etc.). It is the responsibility of the PGA Professional to teach youngsters around these areas and we would always recommend young golfers visit the PGA Professional for lessons. They are qualified, trained and equipped to work with young golfers.
- You do not need lots of golf knowledge to support youngsters on the course. Softer skills can really help to nurture and encourage them. Positively reinforce your child and show an interest in their participation, praise their efforts and results.
- We always ask not to place pressure on your youngsters or push them to play if they do not wish to. If they hit a bad shot, do not respond in a negative way i.e., telling them it was a bad shot or asking, “what did you do that for?!”. Consider your facial reactions which can speak 1000 words and can have an adverse impact on a child. We never mean to hit a bad shot in golf, it just sometimes happens however hard we try! Remind your child they can only ever try their best.
- Accept the decision and judgement of the Organisers during events and activities.
- Encourage your young golfer to introduce themselves to the others they are playing with and encourage some conversations around the course when not playing or preparing to play shots. Encourage golfers to shake hands once the game has finished.
- You can play a huge part in guiding youngsters around the course and helping them learn all the etiquette and ‘codes’ to being a golfer.
The key elements we would encourage young golfers to be aware of include:
Pace of play – keeping up with the golf group in front and aiming for no more than 10 minutes per hole.
Safety – no walking out in front of golfers hitting their shot. Golfers making sure it is safe to swing and checking around them first to ensure no one is stood nearby. Standing back from a golfer swinging. Don’t hit until there is enough space around for where the ball could travel to.
Raking bunkers – when a junior has gone into a bunker, make sure they rake the sand after play.
Repair pitch marks – this is when a ball hits the green and make a small ‘dip on the green. This video can help:
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Repair divots – this is when a junior has played a shot, normally from the rough or fairway and you replace the little piece of grass that comes up.
Marking ball on the green – so the ball is not in the way for golfers putting their ball up to the hole, players should mark their ball using a ball marker. This is placed directly behind the ball and then the ball is picked up. When it is the players turn to play, they replace the ball and then pick up the marker.
Where to leave bags – e.g., normally left between the green and the next tee when putting.
Encouraging other golfers – advise juniors they should always encourage and say well done to other players in their group if they hit a good shot, even when they are your opponent.
Keeping quiet – when someone else is playing
Marking and completing scorecards correctly – you can find some of the rules and guidance around this by clicking here.
If any issues, incidents or accidents arise during the activity, please report these to the Event Organiser before the close of play.
Information for spectators at junior competitions:
- Keep to the sides of the fairways, away from any ball in play and 50 yards from players.
- We encourage all juniors to be responsible for their own clubs, either by carrying or using a trolley where possible. If the player finds this difficult, parents may help as ‘caddies’ but are not to offer advice on club choices or how to play shots.
- Do not walk or talk with players.
- Avoid trampling on long grass when helping to search for a lost ball. If a ball is found, do not touch or pick it up. You may help to identify it if you can see the golf ball make, number, and mark on the ball – you may in this case communicate this with the players.
- The use of mobile phones on the golf course is prohibited except in an emergency for spectators. Phones must be on silent.
- Do not offer information about the local rules. Juniors may use the R&A app, R&A Rules Book or contact the Junior Golf Team (Ken or Iain) for guidance. Please refer to the scorecards for the rules particular to the course being played.
- Keep still and quiet and if you are taking photos or videos of your young golfer whilst they are playing their shot, please make sure your phones are on silent. Do not post photos or videos that include other children without permission from their parents.