How to Help Your Child Add Distance (in Golf)

Young Boy Golfer Teeing Off During Sunset
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One of the first obstacles that must be conquered when a youngster takes up golf is an initial lack of distance. Parents can help their children overcome this problem by teaching them a few basic fundamentals.

Instructing Your Junior

Most instructors who work with juniors advocate teaching kids to hit the ball as far as they can first, then work on being more accurate. Today's golf courses are built for adults and often can be too long for children to handle. In response to that, some courses have established a children's par for their junior golfers. For example, a par 4 for adults may be converted to a par 5 for 10-12-year-olds, or a par 6 for 8-10-year-olds, etc. Some facilities print children's scorecards for daily use or for competitions, so check in the pro shop next time you take your child to the course.

A child's self-esteem grows when they can get a par or a birdie, increasing their enjoyment of the game and thereby stimulating their interest.

You can't control how fast your son or daughter develops physically but when it comes to swinging mechanics, what works for adults works for kids.

Good Grip, Good Range

Starting with a good grip, usually a 10-finger or interlocking grip, make sure their top hand is in a strong position (The V formed by the thumb and forefinger points toward the right shoulder for right handers). This will promote a good wrist cock during the backswing and a good release through impact.

One of the keys to distance is speed (clubhead and body). If the hips rotate quickly through impact, the speed is transmitted through the arms to the clubhead. Encourage your child to create as wide and long a backswing as they can and still make solid contact. Flexibility at this age is no problem and if they overswing a little, let it go for now. A wide stance and good shoulder rotation are also integral to creating power.

Proper equipment is extremely important for distance development. Look for lightweight components for their clubs. Graphite shafts that are flexible are best. Many companies are now producing clubs designed for kids of all ages.

If your son or daughter excels as a junior they could be eligible for an athletic scholarship. Most college teams incorporate weight training into their programs. This can be very helpful but should only be done with a trained supervisor. There is no substitute for speed, strength, and flexibility to acquire more distance.

Hitting the ball is one of the great enjoyments of golf. It is essential to playing the game successfully. Not everyone can hit it like John Daly but if you follow this advice you can get your child started in the right direction.

Above all, provide as much opportunity for them to play as possible and always offer lots of encouragement and praise.

About the Author

Frank Mantua is a Class A PGA Professional and Director of Golf at US Golf Camps. Frank has taught golf to thousands of juniors from more than 25 countries. More than 60 of his students have gone on to play at Division I colleges. Mantua has also published five books and numerous articles on junior golf and junior golf programs. He was one of the founding members of the National Association of Junior Golfers, and is one of the few golf professionals in the country that is also a member of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. Frank also serves as the Junior Golf Specialist on ESPN Radio's "On Par with the Philadelphia PGA".