New Ways to Get Your Family Golfing
By Keith Stewart, PGA
Golf is a traditional game with specific rules and customs, but many of them are self-imposed. Modern golf can be whatever you envision it to be. If you want to take your family out to TopGolf for a fun experience; that’s golf. Let’s say your household can play three or six holes and then have a treat; that is a golf as well. It’s time to realize, that playing and enjoying golf is not encumbered by what others dictate.
Your golf experience should be designed by you. Yes, we do have facility rules to follow, but within those guidelines it’s time you begin getting creative when it comes to family golf. Start by considering the example set by PGA Junior League. If you’re unfamiliar with the PGA of America’s super popular little league for kids to get introduced to the game, you should if you have children.
The format is fun. Kids are placed on a team. Teams play nine-hole matches against other local teams in a partner scramble format. It gets better. During the match you are allowed to make substitutions. Golf is an individual game, but it doesn’t have to be an individual experience. PGA Junior League has been a national success because it breaks from tradition. Utilizing a team scramble format shows us that you can play golf and not have to play alone counting every stroke.
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We are just a couple weeks from our annual trip down Magnolia Lane for the Masters. An institution that many consider the most traditional event in all of golf. I would counter that statement and say I believe the Masters is the most “innovative” event in all of golf. Change is the fabric of what they do. Name another major golf tournament that renovates the course, invites technology, plays a Par 3 tournament, created a secondary tournament just for women and a competition for kids.
In 2013, the Drive, Chip and Putt competition began. We all see the national finals on the Sunday before the Masters, but those local and regional competitions take place during the year all over the country. Competitors don’t count strokes; they compete in a modified skills challenge. Just another great example of how to make a golf experience more modern and fun.
So don’t be afraid to modernize your family golf experience the next time you take everyone out to play. Kids love a good team competition or a skills contest on the practice range. The proven success of these two stories have proven that. Each family golf experience can be different. We don’t all have to enjoy the game in the same way. Golf is hard and the best way to ensure everyone likes playing is to consider each player’s skill level.
When bringing the family together for golf, make sure everyone plays from the correct distance from the hole. I have kids and they started in the fairway at a much shorter distance to the hole than the shortest tee box. When playing watch your group and see what parts of the game make them happy. Ask your spouse and kids what they like most about the experience. Based upon the examples listed above, know you can be flexible. Try different formats and games.
Modern golf is about the experience, not rules. Make enjoying the time together fun and very quickly playing golf will be your most popular family activity!