As you learned in “Growing Up Golf Part 9: The Aggravation Factor” my daughter decided she wanted to leave half-way through her golf class last week. The reason for her early dismissal: she wasn’t having any fun.
Well, I am glad to say that in her very next class she didn’t want to leave. I actually had to say to her that class was over and we have to leave or the hot chocolate waiting for us at Dunkin’ Donuts will be cold.
So what was different from this class compared to last weeks class? One word: fun. She was having fun. The class instructors changed things up a bit from our normal routine. This week instead of playing tic-tac-toe with our putters, they set up plush toys in the squares and had the kids putt to different animals. Seeing how 3-year-olds can get bored putting to a hole, I saw nothing wrong with this idea; in fact I thought it was great. It still teaches them distance control and they have to line up their putt. They still get excellent practice and it’s fun for them at the same time.
I watched all the kids putting and you could see the fun they were having. There were smiles across the room and excitement when they hit their intended target — these kids were having a blast. Now I am not saying that they don’t have fun on other days, but because this was a new activity there was a feeling of excitement, same as when a child gets a new toy or game. They were no longer just going through the motions, they now were really focused on hitting the plush animals.
When we switched to the hitting nets, there were also new objectives added. For one, we were inside which my daughter loves. She is not a fan of hitting under the heated tees (and to tell you the truth, even as a Midwesterner, I can’t blame her).
In station No. 1, the instructors set up some cups in a pyramid formation and the kids had to chip a ball and try to knock them over. In station No. 2, they had two hoola-hoops set up, one on the ground and one hanging from a rope. They had to chip one ball into the hoop on the ground and then hit a shot through the hoop hanging. Again this brought new excitement for the kids in the class. It was like pulling teeth to get them to switch stations and even harder to get them to stop and clean up for the day.
This is exactly how golf needs to be when we first introduce it to young children. If we can keep this kind of excitement during the beginning stages of development they will want to keep coming back for more. When we left class that day, my daughter said she couldn’t wait until next week when we get to go back again. As a dad who loves golf and is trying to pass it onto his children, I couldn’t have been happier.