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A Parent’s Guide: Golf Fitness for Kids

By Brendon Elliott, PGA
Published on
Attendees during the Youth Day for the 2022 PGA Works Collegiate Championship held at the Union League Liberty Hill on April 30, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Hailey Garrett/PGA of America)

Attendees during the Youth Day for the 2022 PGA Works Collegiate Championship held at the Union League Liberty Hill on April 30, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Hailey Garrett/PGA of America)

When kids start to discover golf, it’s important for parents to help manage that journey.
As a PGA Coach who works exclusively with youth golfers, here are four fitness keys I emphasize that are vital to a kid’s long-term success in the game. 
David Donatucci works with Juniors on exercises during a Youth Clinic.
David Donatucci works with Juniors on exercises during a Youth Clinic.
  1. Stretching. While youth golfers may appear to be in good golf shape, I find that there are levels of deficiencies in a kid’s range of motion. Daily stretching in general, as well as pre-practice, and pre-play stretching is critical towards being the best golfer they can. Start with a five-minute stretch to get them in a routine before practicing and playing so they’ll learn the value of it. 
  2. Endurance. This goes hand-in-hand with stretching. Most youth golf tournaments require golfers to walk the golf course. Very often, young golfers ride in carts when playing casual or even practice rounds with parents or coaches. As a result, it’s very common to see young golfers lose energy down the stretch in those walking-only tournaments. Make sure your junior is walking as much as possible when playing so they’re ready to go come game time.
  3. Nutrition. When you watch the best players in the world on TVr, you very often see them eating. Mixed nuts, energy bars, fruit, or even a turkey or peanut butter & jelly sandwich are some of the items I recommend to keep a youth golfer’s body energized through an entire round.
  4. Hydration. Along the same lines as nutrition, hydration is SO important, especially in the warmer months when most youth tournaments take place.. As I mentioned in my previous article “Cheers to You! The Importance of Hydration in Golf,” dehydration can not only be a problem in golf, but also lead to serious health issues. Kids or teens should try and drink 6-8 cups of water a day, and more when they’re out in hot temperatures. Have them bring along their favorite water bottle so they can refill and stay hydrated.
Hayden Knapp of Team New York hits her tee shot during a practice round of the 2022 National Car Rental PGA Jr. League Championship at Grayhawk Golf Club on October 5, 2022 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/PGA of America)
Hayden Knapp of Team New York hits her tee shot during a practice round of the 2022 National Car Rental PGA Jr. League Championship at Grayhawk Golf Club on October 5, 2022 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/PGA of America)
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