Recently, I had a parent voice a concern that my group class is too young for their middle school golfer and while I get why they might think that I decided to share my thoughts on why Beaver Golf teaches the way we do. Golf is a sport that you can start to learn at any age, I chose 5 for my program because in my experience golfers younger than that are unable to stay focused for longer than 30 minutes and some 5 year olds may be challenged in this area as well.
I offer one junior class weekly on Thursday evenings because to tell you the truth it is the only day that my coaching team can make work in our schedule and it has worked great for the last almost 4 years that we have been offering it. All beginner junior golfers age 5-17 are welcome to join the class but they will be grouped by age and ability. All golfers are taught the same way and they will also learn to become golfers of character. That is the goal of the class.
This philosophy is no different than the previous junior programs that I taught at other golf courses. Those classes were categorized by levels. Level 1 was considered the beginner class, all ages were welcome, even the teenagers. If you did not like learning with the younger kids then it gave you the motivation to practice and move up to the other levels. If you have the skill, you move up. Golf is not about your age as some think. My group class works in the same way.
Do golfers become friends over time? Definitely! Some of my younger golfers play in tournaments and do very well. One of my players has been with me since he was 5, he is 11 now and can shoot under par. If a new golfer is in middle school and wants to learn, I would think he or she would want to learn alongside him. My high school students even ask him to play rounds of golf because they want to learn from him and they enjoy his company. So age should never be a factor.
My Thurday junior class usually has at least two high school volunteers who are more than willing to help middle schoolers excel in this sport if they are really interested. The question then becomes is your golfer really interested in learning this great sport or are they simply looking for a social activity?
To sum it up, we teach junior golfers to respect players no matter how old they are. We teach them the skills and the values needed to play with integrity. We also teach our golfers to create community rather than cliques. If your middle school golfer can thrive in this environment then they are always welcome on Thursday evenings, just be sure to register them accordingly.