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Help with starting out with the kids

junior kids

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#1 jafino

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Posted 26 September 2018 - 04:56 PM

My two boys are 10 and 12, and I've introduced each of them to the game fairly recently.  They've had some lessons, they participated in the PGA Jr. League this year, and we often go out as a family to play 9.  

My older son has a competitive streak, and has expressed an interest in playing competitively.  If his goal is to play in tournaments, HS and (who knows) college, what are the avenues we should pursue, and what are reasonable benchmarks of success going forward?  Additionally, I've read that high school golf is not nearly enough if one has any hopes at all to play in college at any level.  If that's the case, what are the next steps?  Some posts on here seem to suggest that unless the kids are competitive in regional/national multi-day tournaments by age 10-12, they've missed the boat.  Where does that leave those who start at that age or later?  Ultimately, personal enjoyment for them is the primary goal, but my older son gets enjoyment out of improving and competition, so I want to foster that to the extent I can.

For what it's worth, I don't have any illusions that D1 is a real possibility, but I feel I owe it to the kids to help them maximize whatever talent and competitive drive they each have.  Whatever they want to do with it is up to them.

The kids played rec and travel baseball for years, and that was easy because information on leagues, tryouts, etc. was readily available.  Our local golf pro suggested starting with US Kids, which we'll do in the spring.  Are those local tours a good place to begin?


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#2 SkiSchoolPro

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Posted 26 September 2018 - 05:07 PM

IMO, 10 & 12 is not too late for D-1 golf, but at that age many kids will be far ahead of them. I haven't been in touch with the Jr scene in years, but would certainly start with local comps and see how they enjoy it. If possible, I would try to first enter a comp at a course they are familiar with before branching out to comps on unfamiliar courses. (Things tend to feel different when you first start playing comps, so playing unfamiliar courses can be good prep for a first comp, but I'd still try to compete on a familiar course. I'd also get in the habit of playing by the rules and putting everything out, etc.).
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#3 tiger1873

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Posted 26 September 2018 - 07:41 PM

10-12 is not too late to start for sure. The big thing really is how fast they pick things up and progress.  At this age forget about group lessons if they show promise.  

At certain point the chances of them making a D1 team probaly goes down as they get older but there are plenty of examples of players out there who start out 16 or 17 and became PGA pros.  I know that was the case with Greg Norman.


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#4 dpb5031

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Posted 26 September 2018 - 07:52 PM

Not too late but will take a big commitment from you as the parent to educate yourself and understand the ins and outs of junior golf.  It ain't easy, but of your kids have the interest and you can provide the course access, instruction, tournament entry fees, and travel expenses, your kids can go pretty far given they have respectable athletic ability and a competitive spirit.
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#5 wildcatden

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Posted 26 September 2018 - 10:30 PM

Where do you live?  This might help some here to recommend junior tournaments you should enter. If you are up north and the next set of tournaments would be US Kids in the spring, that's fine. Have your kids dedicate themselves to golf in the winter. Got indoor driving ranges around you? Have a practice putting mat or put a synthetic practice putting green in your house?

And if you are not a golfer yourself, you need to read up on the golf swing, the short game, putting and the mental aspects of the game.  Some kids who are naturally athletic and/or have built up their athletic skills in other sports like baseball, basketball, tennis, etc...can pick up golf quickly.  Your older boy will be the one with the shorter timeline. He needs to get good and start playing and placing well at tournaments towards rankings (JGS) by age 14 minimum IMHO.


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#6 kekoa

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Posted 27 September 2018 - 12:34 AM

I agree with what has been said above. The 10 yo has a bit of time. The 12 yo needs to get on it asap and that will take a lot of time and financial commitment from you.  Some may disagree but I feel like a lot of good 12 yo are on the radar of top college coaches already.

My kid started hitting balls at 2 and started tournaments at 5.  I feel like the years of competitive golf and experiences will be invaluable when and if he plays golf at the next level.

Best of luck to you guys.

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#7 tiger1873

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Posted 27 September 2018 - 07:01 AM

View Postkekoa, on 27 September 2018 - 12:34 AM, said:

I agree with what has been said above. The 10 yo has a bit of time. The 12 yo needs to get on it asap and that will take a lot of time and financial commitment from you.  Some may disagree but I feel like a lot of good 12 yo are on the radar of top college coaches already.

My kid started hitting balls at 2 and started tournaments at 5.  I feel like the years of competitive golf and experiences will be invaluable when and if he plays golf at the next level.

Best of luck to you guys.

For sure college coaches are looking at 12 year olds but that is because the parents are reaching out to them. Not too many college coaches are serious about who is going to be on their team 6 years from now.  So while kids are their radar if a kid starts to break out and do well they have just as good as a chance as anyone.  Also if D1 college is the goal remember that a lot the better kids who get scholarships at the top schools do not stay for 4 years. This means a lot transfers happen and positions open up last minute.

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#8 kcap

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Posted 27 September 2018 - 07:54 AM

View Postjafino, on 26 September 2018 - 04:56 PM, said:

My two boys are 10 and 12, and I've introduced each of them to the game fairly recently.  They've had some lessons, they participated in the PGA Jr. League this year, and we often go out as a family to play 9.  

My older son has a competitive streak, and has expressed an interest in playing competitively.  If his goal is to play in tournaments, HS and (who knows) college, what are the avenues we should pursue, and what are reasonable benchmarks of success going forward?  Additionally, I've read that high school golf is not nearly enough if one has any hopes at all to play in college at any level.  If that's the case, what are the next steps?  Some posts on here seem to suggest that unless the kids are competitive in regional/national multi-day tournaments by age 10-12, they've missed the boat.  Where does that leave those who start at that age or later?  Ultimately, personal enjoyment for them is the primary goal, but my older son gets enjoyment out of improving and competition, so I want to foster that to the extent I can.

For what it's worth, I don't have any illusions that D1 is a real possibility, but I feel I owe it to the kids to help them maximize whatever talent and competitive drive they each have.  Whatever they want to do with it is up to them.

The kids played rec and travel baseball for years, and that was easy because information on leagues, tryouts, etc. was readily available.  Our local golf pro suggested starting with US Kids, which we'll do in the spring.  Are those local tours a good place to begin?

There is nothing as too late; it will really boil down to your children's natural athletic ability and willingness  to grind it out on the range and practice sessions.
- my advice would be to get them a coach and private lessons.. very important to get fundamentals right especially for the 12yr old -- it is easy to swing right when you have not developed bad habits.
- why wait for US Kids in the spring.  You don't need to play the complete Fall tour,  I would enter into a couple of tournaments and see if your kids actually enjoy tournament golf.

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#9 tiger1873

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Posted 27 September 2018 - 08:31 AM

View Postkcap, on 27 September 2018 - 07:54 AM, said:

View Postjafino, on 26 September 2018 - 04:56 PM, said:

My two boys are 10 and 12, and I've introduced each of them to the game fairly recently.  They've had some lessons, they participated in the PGA Jr. League this year, and we often go out as a family to play 9.  

My older son has a competitive streak, and has expressed an interest in playing competitively.  If his goal is to play in tournaments, HS and (who knows) college, what are the avenues we should pursue, and what are reasonable benchmarks of success going forward?  Additionally, I've read that high school golf is not nearly enough if one has any hopes at all to play in college at any level.  If that's the case, what are the next steps?  Some posts on here seem to suggest that unless the kids are competitive in regional/national multi-day tournaments by age 10-12, they've missed the boat.  Where does that leave those who start at that age or later?  Ultimately, personal enjoyment for them is the primary goal, but my older son gets enjoyment out of improving and competition, so I want to foster that to the extent I can.

For what it's worth, I don't have any illusions that D1 is a real possibility, but I feel I owe it to the kids to help them maximize whatever talent and competitive drive they each have.  Whatever they want to do with it is up to them.

The kids played rec and travel baseball for years, and that was easy because information on leagues, tryouts, etc. was readily available.  Our local golf pro suggested starting with US Kids, which we'll do in the spring.  Are those local tours a good place to begin?

There is nothing as too late; it will really boil down to your children's natural athletic ability and willingness  to grind it out on the range and practice sessions.
- my advice would be to get them a coach and private lessons.. very important to get fundamentals right especially for the 12yr old -- it is easy to swing right when you have not developed bad habits.
- why wait for US Kids in the spring.  You don't need to play the complete Fall tour,  I would enter into a couple of tournaments and see if your kids actually enjoy tournament golf.

The one thing I would add is be very careful about coaches you pick. You do not want  a coach that changes you to their swing or tell you how to play their golf game. Look at Tiger Woods he went with hot coaches to teach him to swing better and it resulted in a lot failure. He went back to swinging by feell and becomes a winner again. To me this says I think you can over coach too.

You want a coach that helps explains why your ball is doing what it is doing. If they have a good swing you will know if from the day they pick up a club. In a lot cases no coach may be better then having one.

Edited by tiger1873, 27 September 2018 - 08:32 AM.


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#10 jafino

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Posted 27 September 2018 - 09:48 AM

Thanks all - the responses are really helpful.

We live in Mercer county, NJ - not far from Princeton.  If anyone has any coach recommendations, I'd be grateful (eastern PA - Bucks County is in range).  NJ winters can make it tough to stay fresh all year.  With that in mind, it would be nice to find a coach that is good with kids and who has an indoor facility.  We've had some exposure to group lessons at the Mercer County Junior Academy, and I think we'll tap a coach there for private lessons.

For those of you that have found a good coach for your kids, how did you do that?  Is there any way to avoid a time consuming (and costly) trial and error process?  Is there anything to a US Kids certification?

We'll certainly look into a local fall tournament.  The winners of some of the local US Kids tournaments are over par, but not by much.  Any tips on managing a kid's expectations going into his or her first tournament?  One of the great things about this game is that it is intensely individual, but that can be a double-edged sword when it comes to kids and young egos.


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#11 heavy_hitter

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Posted 27 September 2018 - 10:17 AM

View Postwildcatden, on 26 September 2018 - 10:30 PM, said:

And if you are not a golfer yourself, you need to read up on the golf swing, the short game, putting and the mental aspects of the game.  Some kids who are naturally athletic and/or have built up their athletic skills in other sports like baseball, basketball, tennis, etc...can pick up golf quickly.  Your older boy will be the one with the shorter timeline. He needs to get good and start playing and placing well at tournaments towards rankings (JGS) by age 14 minimum IMHO.

I have agreed with what everyone has stated except this.  Stay away from the game.  Let your coach coach and don't get involved.  Help with the mental aspect and that is it.  Your relationship will be better with your kid.

As Kekoa said this takes a huge financial commitment.  Not only financial it takes a great commitment of your time.  I have seen plenty of kids that have potential, but parents aren't willing to give up their weekends so their kids can play golf.  If I had to guess, 90% of my weekends we are doing something golf related.  Those weekends we don't spend doing something golf related I honestly don't know what the heck to do.

Edited by heavy_hitter, 27 September 2018 - 11:31 AM.


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#12 wildcatden

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Posted 27 September 2018 - 10:35 AM

View Postheavy_hitter, on 27 September 2018 - 10:17 AM, said:

View Postwildcatden, on 26 September 2018 - 10:30 PM, said:

And if you are not a golfer yourself, you need to read up on the golf swing, the short game, putting and the mental aspects of the game.  Some kids who are naturally athletic and/or have built up their athletic skills in other sports like baseball, basketball, tennis, etc...can pick up golf quickly.  Your older boy will be the one with the shorter timeline. He needs to get good and start playing and placing well at tournaments towards rankings (JGS) by age 14 minimum IMHO.

I have agreed with what everyone has stated except this.  Stay away from the game.  Let your coach coach and don't get involved.  Help with the mental aspect and that is it.  Your relationship will be better with your kid.

As Kekoa said this takes a huge financial commitment.  Not only financial it takes a great commitment of your time.  I have seen plenty of kids that have potential, but parents aren't willing to give up their weekends so their kids can play golf.  If I had to guess, 90% of my weekends we are doing something golf related.  Those weekends we don't I honestly don't know what the heck to do.

I think I'd agree with you when kids get older as is the case with the OP's kids. Mine is only 7YO so he will still listen to me and I'm saving money for now because a coach is not needed at this age. That's gonna change when he hits 10 or 12 as the OP's kids are.  But you never know. Every parent/child relationship is different.

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#13 heavy_hitter

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Posted 27 September 2018 - 10:47 AM

View Postwildcatden, on 27 September 2018 - 10:35 AM, said:

View Postheavy_hitter, on 27 September 2018 - 10:17 AM, said:

View Postwildcatden, on 26 September 2018 - 10:30 PM, said:

And if you are not a golfer yourself, you need to read up on the golf swing, the short game, putting and the mental aspects of the game.  Some kids who are naturally athletic and/or have built up their athletic skills in other sports like baseball, basketball, tennis, etc...can pick up golf quickly.  Your older boy will be the one with the shorter timeline. He needs to get good and start playing and placing well at tournaments towards rankings (JGS) by age 14 minimum IMHO.

I have agreed with what everyone has stated except this.  Stay away from the game.  Let your coach coach and don't get involved.  Help with the mental aspect and that is it.  Your relationship will be better with your kid.

As Kekoa said this takes a huge financial commitment.  Not only financial it takes a great commitment of your time.  I have seen plenty of kids that have potential, but parents aren't willing to give up their weekends so their kids can play golf.  If I had to guess, 90% of my weekends we are doing something golf related.  Those weekends we don't I honestly don't know what the heck to do.

I think I'd agree with you when kids get older as is the case with the OP's kids. Mine is only 7YO so he will still listen to me and I'm saving money for now because a coach is not needed at this age. That's gonna change when he hits 10 or 12 as the OP's kids are.  But you never know. Every parent/child relationship is different.

Had a discussion with a former PGA Pro that has been in the teaching profession for a long time at distinguished clubs.  I asked him how come he didn't teach his kid (his son is 16).  He said "Because he won't listen to a $#@% thing I say.  So I pay someone else to teach him and tell him the same thing I @#$%#$# would."  He told me a couple of more stories about Tour guys and them paying someone to teach their kids.  I think most kids are the same way.

Edited by heavy_hitter, 27 September 2018 - 11:33 AM.


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#14 kcap

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Posted 27 September 2018 - 11:58 AM

View Postjafino, on 27 September 2018 - 09:48 AM, said:

Thanks all - the responses are really helpful.

We live in Mercer county, NJ - not far from Princeton.  If anyone has any coach recommendations, I'd be grateful (eastern PA - Bucks County is in range).  NJ winters can make it tough to stay fresh all year.  With that in mind, it would be nice to find a coach that is good with kids and who has an indoor facility.  We've had some exposure to group lessons at the Mercer County Junior Academy, and I think we'll tap a coach there for private lessons.

For those of you that have found a good coach for your kids, how did you do that?  Is there any way to avoid a time consuming (and costly) trial and error process?  Is there anything to a US Kids certification?

We'll certainly look into a local fall tournament.  The winners of some of the local US Kids tournaments are over par, but not by much.  Any tips on managing a kid's expectations going into his or her first tournament?  One of the great things about this game is that it is intensely individual, but that can be a double-edged sword when it comes to kids and young egos.
I can send you some suggestions for the NJ area.
- There are several fall Central and Philly tournaments still on the calendar.  They are not far from you, I would sign up to as many as you can (time permitting).   That will give you a really good idea on where you kids stand relative to competition, and allow you develop a plan with this coach for something over winter.  The winter or the off-season is the best time to do swing changes because you are not really playing and allows to focus on drills and shots rather then the score or result.
- I agree with HH.. you need to be the caddy, food carrier, driver, and guide, not the coach.  Your boys are old enough to take instruction and figure it out.

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#15 jafino

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Posted 27 September 2018 - 12:21 PM

View Postkcap, on 27 September 2018 - 11:58 AM, said:

View Postjafino, on 27 September 2018 - 09:48 AM, said:

Thanks all - the responses are really helpful.

We live in Mercer county, NJ - not far from Princeton.  If anyone has any coach recommendations, I'd be grateful (eastern PA - Bucks County is in range).  NJ winters can make it tough to stay fresh all year.  With that in mind, it would be nice to find a coach that is good with kids and who has an indoor facility.  We've had some exposure to group lessons at the Mercer County Junior Academy, and I think we'll tap a coach there for private lessons.

For those of you that have found a good coach for your kids, how did you do that?  Is there any way to avoid a time consuming (and costly) trial and error process?  Is there anything to a US Kids certification?

We'll certainly look into a local fall tournament.  The winners of some of the local US Kids tournaments are over par, but not by much.  Any tips on managing a kid's expectations going into his or her first tournament?  One of the great things about this game is that it is intensely individual, but that can be a double-edged sword when it comes to kids and young egos.
I can send you some suggestions for the NJ area.
- There are several fall Central and Philly tournaments still on the calendar.  They are not far from you, I would sign up to as many as you can (time permitting).   That will give you a really good idea on where you kids stand relative to competition, and allow you develop a plan with this coach for something over winter.  The winter or the off-season is the best time to do swing changes because you are not really playing and allows to focus on drills and shots rather then the score or result.
- I agree with HH.. you need to be the caddy, food carrier, driver, and guide, not the coach.  Your boys are old enough to take instruction and figure it out.

Thanks very much kcap.


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#16 tiger1873

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Posted 27 September 2018 - 12:39 PM

View Postheavy_hitter, on 27 September 2018 - 10:17 AM, said:

As Kekoa said this takes a huge financial commitment.  Not only financial it takes a great commitment of your time.  I have seen plenty of kids that have potential, but parents aren't willing to give up their weekends so their kids can play golf.  If I had to guess, 90% of my weekends we are doing something golf related.  Those weekends we don't spend doing something golf related I honestly don't know what the heck to do.

It's a very big financial commitment for sure. But like Heavy said weekends are filled with golf related events. Heck even my evenings are as well. Honestly it's a lot money but if I didn't do golf with my kids I would be spending it doing something else like buying a Boat, or Cars and with all that guilt I would be taking the kids on a once year trip to Disney which is more then a country club membership.  So in a weird way it may actually be saving me money.  In all seriousness It helps me be closer to the kids and it is time well spent.

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#17 mikpga

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Posted 27 September 2018 - 12:45 PM

Start them playing in local junior golf tournaments, and go from there...

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#18 kekoa

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Posted 27 September 2018 - 12:54 PM

View Postheavy_hitter, on 27 September 2018 - 10:47 AM, said:

View Postwildcatden, on 27 September 2018 - 10:35 AM, said:

View Postheavy_hitter, on 27 September 2018 - 10:17 AM, said:

View Postwildcatden, on 26 September 2018 - 10:30 PM, said:

And if you are not a golfer yourself, you need to read up on the golf swing, the short game, putting and the mental aspects of the game.  Some kids who are naturally athletic and/or have built up their athletic skills in other sports like baseball, basketball, tennis, etc...can pick up golf quickly.  Your older boy will be the one with the shorter timeline. He needs to get good and start playing and placing well at tournaments towards rankings (JGS) by age 14 minimum IMHO.

I have agreed with what everyone has stated except this.  Stay away from the game.  Let your coach coach and don't get involved.  Help with the mental aspect and that is it.  Your relationship will be better with your kid.

As Kekoa said this takes a huge financial commitment.  Not only financial it takes a great commitment of your time.  I have seen plenty of kids that have potential, but parents aren't willing to give up their weekends so their kids can play golf.  If I had to guess, 90% of my weekends we are doing something golf related.  Those weekends we don't I honestly don't know what the heck to do.

I think I'd agree with you when kids get older as is the case with the OP's kids. Mine is only 7YO so he will still listen to me and I'm saving money for now because a coach is not needed at this age. That's gonna change when he hits 10 or 12 as the OP's kids are.  But you never know. Every parent/child relationship is different.

Had a discussion with a former PGA Pro that has been in the teaching profession for a long time at distinguished clubs.  I asked him how come he didn't teach his kid (his son is 16).  He said "Because he won't listen to a $#@% thing I say.  So I pay someone else to teach him and tell him the same thing I @#$%#$# would."  He told me a couple of more stories about Tour guys and them paying someone to teach their kids.  I think most kids are the same way.

Amazingly my son only listens to me relating to golf. ughhh.

I'm already thinking about the cost for an instructor when my son turns 11 or 12 and I'm not looking forward to it.  I have friends now that take their kids to PGA status instructors who charge in the neighborhood of $300+/Hr and this doesn't include the travel time.  I don't quite understand the point at such a young age, but to each his own.

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#19 heavy_hitter

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Posted 27 September 2018 - 01:12 PM

View Postkekoa, on 27 September 2018 - 12:54 PM, said:

View Postheavy_hitter, on 27 September 2018 - 10:47 AM, said:

View Postwildcatden, on 27 September 2018 - 10:35 AM, said:

View Postheavy_hitter, on 27 September 2018 - 10:17 AM, said:

View Postwildcatden, on 26 September 2018 - 10:30 PM, said:

And if you are not a golfer yourself, you need to read up on the golf swing, the short game, putting and the mental aspects of the game.  Some kids who are naturally athletic and/or have built up their athletic skills in other sports like baseball, basketball, tennis, etc...can pick up golf quickly.  Your older boy will be the one with the shorter timeline. He needs to get good and start playing and placing well at tournaments towards rankings (JGS) by age 14 minimum IMHO.

I have agreed with what everyone has stated except this.  Stay away from the game.  Let your coach coach and don't get involved.  Help with the mental aspect and that is it.  Your relationship will be better with your kid.

As Kekoa said this takes a huge financial commitment.  Not only financial it takes a great commitment of your time.  I have seen plenty of kids that have potential, but parents aren't willing to give up their weekends so their kids can play golf.  If I had to guess, 90% of my weekends we are doing something golf related.  Those weekends we don't I honestly don't know what the heck to do.

I think I'd agree with you when kids get older as is the case with the OP's kids. Mine is only 7YO so he will still listen to me and I'm saving money for now because a coach is not needed at this age. That's gonna change when he hits 10 or 12 as the OP's kids are.  But you never know. Every parent/child relationship is different.

Had a discussion with a former PGA Pro that has been in the teaching profession for a long time at distinguished clubs.  I asked him how come he didn't teach his kid (his son is 16).  He said "Because he won't listen to a $#@% thing I say.  So I pay someone else to teach him and tell him the same thing I @#$%#$# would."  He told me a couple of more stories about Tour guys and them paying someone to teach their kids.  I think most kids are the same way.

Amazingly my son only listens to me relating to golf. ughhh.

I'm already thinking about the cost for an instructor when my son turns 11 or 12 and I'm not looking forward to it.  I have friends now that take their kids to PGA status instructors who charge in the neighborhood of $300+/Hr and this doesn't include the travel time.  I don't quite understand the point at such a young age, but to each his own.

From the looks of it, your kid is beating those kids.  So is the $300 really worth it?

$300+ an hour isn't worth it.  No golf instructor is worth that amount for a junior golfer.  I wouldn't even entertain that.  I was sending my kid to a guy that is well regarded as one of the best junior instructors in the country and that was costing me $150.00 a pop.  I told my wife that I was being a fool.  I would've spent roughly $21,000.00 in instruction until he graduated from high school.  That is one year of tuition to an in state school.  Along with the other money I have spent over that 7 years would have paid for college by itself.

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#20 yellowlover519

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Posted 27 September 2018 - 05:14 PM

View Postkcap, on 27 September 2018 - 11:58 AM, said:

View Postjafino, on 27 September 2018 - 09:48 AM, said:

Thanks all - the responses are really helpful.

We live in Mercer county, NJ - not far from Princeton.  If anyone has any coach recommendations, I'd be grateful (eastern PA - Bucks County is in range).  NJ winters can make it tough to stay fresh all year.  With that in mind, it would be nice to find a coach that is good with kids and who has an indoor facility.  We've had some exposure to group lessons at the Mercer County Junior Academy, and I think we'll tap a coach there for private lessons.

For those of you that have found a good coach for your kids, how did you do that?  Is there any way to avoid a time consuming (and costly) trial and error process?  Is there anything to a US Kids certification?

We'll certainly look into a local fall tournament.  The winners of some of the local US Kids tournaments are over par, but not by much.  Any tips on managing a kid's expectations going into his or her first tournament?  One of the great things about this game is that it is intensely individual, but that can be a double-edged sword when it comes to kids and young egos.
I can send you some suggestions for the NJ area.
- There are several fall Central and Philly tournaments still on the calendar.  They are not far from you, I would sign up to as many as you can (time permitting).   That will give you a really good idea on where you kids stand relative to competition, and allow you develop a plan with this coach for something over winter.  The winter or the off-season is the best time to do swing changes because you are not really playing and allows to focus on drills and shots rather then the score or result.
- I agree with HH.. you need to be the caddy, food carrier, driver, and guide, not the coach.  Your boys are old enough to take instruction and figure it out.

Start with US Kids and see if they can do some MET in the summer.  Philly US kids is going to be less competitive than North or Central jersey (Jersey attracts NYC, Long Island and Westchester for fall and spring and 7-8 players go to worlds at boys 10).  They get status through each local and regionals and fields can be 20+ deep (they had to make two tours bc it was getting so many participants).  Fall 10s play like a regional at that age group on both NJ tours, IMO. In the summer, Long Island Sound is the least competitive (the better players are only doing MET in the summer for the most part).  That will give you a good idea of who’s out there in your area.  NJ Junior PGA as well but probably not as competitive as MET.  Royce Brook is nearby and very junior friendly.  They went to junior PGA nationals last year.  Re coach - a lot of good ones in your area.  You can go as high as Michael Breed ($550 per hour) or Greg Zohovitz (significantly less) at Fiddler’s Elbow who runs NJ Junior PGA.  I wish Adam koloff was still at Liberty (might be the best junior coach — check out his Instagram).  Just make sure they teach competitive juniors so they understand the level to which  you’re trying to get your kids.  Good luck!  NJ PGA and Met sections should give him enough experience to try a junior ajga event when he’s 15 (only need a few stars and can be realistically earned at NJ PGA events).

Edited by yellowlover519, 27 September 2018 - 05:51 PM.


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#21 yellowlover519

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Posted 27 September 2018 - 06:01 PM

View Posttiger1873, on 27 September 2018 - 12:39 PM, said:

View Postheavy_hitter, on 27 September 2018 - 10:17 AM, said:

As Kekoa said this takes a huge financial commitment.  Not only financial it takes a great commitment of your time.  I have seen plenty of kids that have potential, but parents aren't willing to give up their weekends so their kids can play golf.  If I had to guess, 90% of my weekends we are doing something golf related.  Those weekends we don't spend doing something golf related I honestly don't know what the heck to do.

It's a very big financial commitment for sure. But like Heavy said weekends are filled with golf related events. Heck even my evenings are as well. Honestly it's a lot money but if I didn't do golf with my kids I would be spending it doing something else like buying a Boat, or Cars and with all that guilt I would be taking the kids on a once year trip to Disney which is more then a country club membership.  So in a weird way it may actually be saving me money.  In all seriousness It helps me be closer to the kids and it is time well spent.

What kind of Disney trip are you taking that would equal a country club membership?!?!

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#22 tiger1873

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Posted 27 September 2018 - 08:47 PM

View Postyellowlover519, on 27 September 2018 - 06:01 PM, said:

View Posttiger1873, on 27 September 2018 - 12:39 PM, said:

View Postheavy_hitter, on 27 September 2018 - 10:17 AM, said:

As Kekoa said this takes a huge financial commitment.  Not only financial it takes a great commitment of your time.  I have seen plenty of kids that have potential, but parents aren't willing to give up their weekends so their kids can play golf.  If I had to guess, 90% of my weekends we are doing something golf related.  Those weekends we don't spend doing something golf related I honestly don't know what the heck to do.

It's a very big financial commitment for sure. But like Heavy said weekends are filled with golf related events. Heck even my evenings are as well. Honestly it's a lot money but if I didn't do golf with my kids I would be spending it doing something else like buying a Boat, or Cars and with all that guilt I would be taking the kids on a once year trip to Disney which is more then a country club membership.  So in a weird way it may actually be saving me money.  In all seriousness It helps me be closer to the kids and it is time well spent.

What kind of Disney trip are you taking that would equal a country club membership?!?!

I was joking about Disney costing as much but you could easily dump some serous money there in a week. Just tickets alone can easily run $400-500 a day for a family of four add in staying at a nice hotel and dinner plans your can easily  spend 7-8k for a week. Even if you go cheap like I did a few years ago it still cost me like 4K the last time.  Way too much for a week.

Last year I wanted to do a Disney cruise and I think it was 10k by the time I added in all the costs for  a week. Compared to disney , playing golf is a bargain.

But seriously you can easily get a Annual golf memberships for 6-7 grand and be a nice place. So yes a year membership can cost just as much as a Disney trip

Edited by tiger1873, 27 September 2018 - 09:31 PM.


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#23 tiger1873

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Posted 27 September 2018 - 09:59 PM

Agree no reason to spend $300 an hour that is too much. It’s a California thing look around you can get top 10 instructor for a junior for less then $200 an hour.

Also the rates are but deceiving you can $50 an hour for junior coach but need to see them 3 or 4 times a week. You also may not see much improvement.

If you see a great teacher they may charge $150 an hour but they also take your calls and give advice when you send them videos.  You may also only need to see them once a month not 2 or 3 times a week.

So even though they charge 3 times as much there actually cheaper.  This only works when there older if there 6 or 7 you just need someone they will listen too and let them learn fundamentals.

Everyone is different but in the end it results per dollars spent that matters.

Edited by tiger1873, 27 September 2018 - 10:03 PM.


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#24 jj9000

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Posted 28 September 2018 - 07:38 AM

Nobody needs to see a swing coach for 2-3 lessons per week.  That's overkill, IMO.

You can only put so many things in someone's head before you see diminishing returns.

Work on 1-2 things per lesson, then groove in the teaching through focused practice.

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#25 heavy_hitter

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Posted 28 September 2018 - 08:25 AM

View Postjj9000, on 28 September 2018 - 07:38 AM, said:

Nobody needs to see a swing coach for 2-3 lessons per week.  That's overkill, IMO.

You can only put so many things in someone's head before you see diminishing returns.

Work on 1-2 things per lesson, then groove in the teaching through focused practice.

Not necessarily true.  It depends on what you are working on.  If it is beating balls on the range I agree.  If it is course work and learning how to play then I disagree.  Too many people (not just juniors) miss the boat on learning to play the game with an instructor.  It isn't all about the swing, chipping, or putting.


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#26 cubuffs

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Posted 28 September 2018 - 09:00 AM

Lots of great advice has already been given, so I will just reiterate a couple of points based on my experience.

As background, I have a 13 year old 8th grader who has been playing since 6 and is accomplished in Middle TN (not nearly the same level as CA, FL, or TX).  I also coach my youngest son's travel baseball team and have been intimately involved in youth sports (coaching and league commissioner/president) for the last 10 years.

First - Couldn't agree with any point more - as Heavy mentions above - find a coach for your Son and leave the coaching to them.  I can't tell you how much this has improved the relationship between my Son and I!  We were close with very similar personality types before - but now when we are on the course, he is more of my golfing buddy than anything else and our relationship is SO MUCH better.  I will work with him on mental and course management aspects - but the only advice I give him now is when he asks to say verify a position or change he is working with his coach on.  He will also offer advice to me based on shortcomings of Dad's swing that he is now astute enough to pick up ;-)

Second - get your Boys involved in a few tournaments and see how they like it.  It sounds like through the PGA Jr. League they have had some exposure, but individual tournament golf, where you have to hole out your own ball, and deal with the ups and downs by yourself is a world different.  You would be shocked to see some of the behavior that 12-14 YO boys show out there on the course under this situation.  Getting experience will also help identify areas in which to focus time and practice - and nothing builds motivation like seeing improvement through hard work.

Best of luck - it is one great journey.  As much as I love to golf my own ball, nothing is as exciting as seeing your child do something that they truly love, and put the time and effort in to improve!

Edited by cubuffs, 28 September 2018 - 09:03 AM.


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#27 dpb5031

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Posted 28 September 2018 - 11:24 AM

OP,I'm from Mercer County NJ also. My daughter is now in college playing at a mid-tier D1, but we were heavily involved in junior golf at all levels. You've gotten some good advice here.

It is very difficult to find a good swing coach.  Many are not very good.  Two in our area that I know are good are John Dunnigan (White Manor CC outside of Philly) and Dom DiJulia (Bucks Co).  Both have outstanding track records with juniors.

We chose a different route with her instruction.  She sees Geoff Jones (Slicefixer here on GolfWRX) only several times per year when he comes up to our area (he's from Texarkana). Although I respect and agree that most parents should not get involved in trying to coach their own kids, in our case it works. Geoff has spent as much time teaching me what to look for as he has hands on instructing her. I only reinforce his teachings, but my daughter relies on me for feedback, a set of eyes, and advice on occassion.   She was always very coachable, and I am a 2 HC player with significant knowledge about the swing, so again, our situation is unique.  Every kid is different!

In terms of junior tours, start with Mercer County Future Champions, US Kids Locals then Regionals. Also check out the Philadelphia section and NJ section junior tours.

The IJGT also does a lot in our area. They run nice events at great venues but they're expensive.  The JGA Tour is mostly in South Jersey,  but their events are reasonably priced and they combine successive one-day weekend scores to submit for rankings.  Its convenient because you won't need to burn an entire weekend, just two successive Sundays.

Ultimately if your kids do really well you can start to think about the AJGA, which is the premier junior tour and the one most respected by college coaches. You have to earn status just to participate, so you'll need to study the requirements.  I would also have them play in the USGA Junior local qualifiers when they come up.

Good luck!
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#28 jafino

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Posted 02 October 2018 - 12:21 PM

Thanks to all - very helpful.  

Have you seen any benefit from group sessions or the "camp" style format?  I've come across a lot of these, but it seems they are nothing more than structured practice with no real instruction or improvement potential.  Are these worthwhile at all?

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