From birdies to triple bogeys, golf closely parallels real life as players experience the highs and lows of the game. There are many values and lessons that can be learned while playing the game of golf and the youth development organization, The First Tee, uses this platform to help young people learn how to manage emotions, set goals and develop leadership skills—all while having fun.
While there are countless ways a young person can benefit from playing this lifetime sport, below are ten great reasons why golf is a great game for kids.
1. Practice personal responsibility: Sometimes the ball doesn’t always bounce your way, but regardless of the outcome, there is no blaming your teammates for what happens. In golf, young people are personally responsible for preparing and performing, and although there are no guarantees you will shoot a low score or win the tournament, you can walk off the last hole knowing you did everything in your control to give yourself the best opportunity for success.
2. Access to caring adults and mentors: A golf course is a safe place that fosters or can encourage mentoring relationships in a safe environment.
3. Manage your emotions: Golf closely parallels real life as players experience the highs and lows of the game. This range of experience from birdies to triple bogeys rewards a young person’s ability to keep each shot in perspective, manage one’s emotions, maintain a positive outlook and focus on the shot at hand.
4. Appreciate diversity: Golf is a game that can be played for a lifetime by anyone regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, size or skill level. You can even play the game by yourself or with others. When you play with others, you can be paired up with players of varying ability levels.
5. Prepare for Business: Golf is a sport that helps prepare kids for careers in business and other professional arenas. Participating in golf activities permits the opportunity to learn social etiquette that can lead to opening doors in business and other opportunities.
6. Enjoy the great outdoors: Young people should play golf because it is an opportunity to spend a few hours in the fresh air. While playing golf, kids can experience all types of plants and wildlife indigenous to their geographic location.
7. Learn Etiquette: Children should play golf because it is based on characteristics that are missing in our society. Golf places an emphasis on etiquette. In golf there is no judge or referee; instead players govern themselves and fellow competitors.
8. Spend time with family: Golf is a game that encourages family participation. The most common way young people get started playing golf is through a family member.
9. Wellness for life: With the youth obesity epidemic in our country, golf is a sport that helps young people get off the couch and onto the course. When you play golf, walking the golf course and carrying your bag, a 150 lb. person burns 350 calories per round.
10. Develop lifelong friendships: You never know who you will meet on a golf course and interaction with others allows young people to develop social skills as they engage with people on the walk between shots.
As Managing Director of Chapter Programs & Research at The First Tee home office in St. Augustine, FL, Beth leads the development of the Life Skills Experience curriculum for Chapters, manages The First Tee’s mentoring program, assists with the development of The First Tee Coach Program training content, and oversees all third-party research on the effectiveness of The First Tee’s participant programs.