If you are new to the junior golf landscape, my guess is that you are finding out there is a lot of information available and it is difficult to decide what is best for you and your junior golfer. If you coach, train, advise or have a junior golfer in your family, the below tips and advice should be helpful for you to determine a good path forward and some of the best companies who can help you navigate your journey. This Junior Golf 101 article breaks down equipment, lessons, camps, discounts, tournaments, and recruiting. The National High School Golf Association helps golfers who are primarily between 14-18 years old who are in high school, but junior golf can start as early as age 5.
If you are new to golf, you should not buy clubs unless your son or daughter likes the game and wants to dedicate himself or herself to playing golf. One of the most important things for golf equipment is making sure you have the right size golf clubs. Unfortunately, golf clubs will need to change frequently as kids grow quickly. There are a number of organizations out there that sell junior golf clubs, but one of the best is US Kids which has a sizing chart and can help your child get fit for clubs. It’s best to buy used clubs versus new since you probably need to buy new clubs every year or other year. This article highlights some of the best places to buy and sell used clubs.
Golf Lessons & Clinics
If you are new to junior golf and just learning the game, a local PGA Professional can help guide you at the golf course. Even though many moms and dads know how to play the game, investing in golf lessons is important than trying to teach your kids bad habits. Starting off in junior golf group clinics might be better than individual lessons in my opinion since these clinics will cost you a little bit less and your junior golfer will have others learning the game with them versus individual instruction where they might need to focus more 1 to 1. Hopefully, group golf clinics are more fun and enjoyable.
Going to a golf camp is a great introduction to golf. There are many golf camps that take place primarily during the summer, but there are also weekend golf camps and clinics which take place throughout the year too. Depending on your budget, the time of year, and where you live, the options available to you will vary. This platform of where to find golf camps might be helpful since it outlines the different golf camp options in every state. There are more advanced golf camp options on college campuses and through elite golf academies for more advanced players.
Greens fees & Golf Discounts
Many golf courses offer discounts for junior golfers. The best bang for your buck is getting a junior golf membership if your child loves the game of golf. If you are not sure if a golf membership is worth it, there is an organization called Youth on Course which helps make golf affordable for everyone. You can join Youth on Course for a small membership fee and then it only costs less than $5 per round to play golf after that. Learn more about Youth on Course
Golf Tournaments, Events, and Competitions
The competitive junior golf landscape is vast and there are a ton of options which exist for beginner golfers all the way to elite junior players who are trying to play varsity college golf. Below highlights the best options for tournaments if you are looking to get involved in the competitive landscape.
Beginners – PGA Junior Leagues – This event series takes place at the local level where kids are part of a golf team, just like a little league baseball team where they can meet friends, compete, and learn the game. Juniors will play in local events against other golf courses in the area and if your team is strong, you will be able to make regional qualifiers and then there is a national championship for the most elite players.
If your junior golfer is really enjoying the game, joining a junior golf tour and competing in the local area is a good start. It is important to note that all competition should start at the local level. If you can win locally, try state-wide competitions. If you can do well at the state level, then you should think about regional and national competition. Here is a link to where you can find junior golf tournaments in every state.
If you are an elite player, you will want to play in an elite competition that is ranked by Junior Golf Scoreboard. This type of competition is quite expensive and time consuming since you will need to travel to many events. The best elite competition for junior golf is run by an organization called the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA). Learn more about the AJGA.
College Golf Recruiting
Most junior golfers will not play college golf. To be more specific, there are about 224,000 boys and girls who play high school golf. Less than 7% of these boys and girls will play college golf at any level. The good news is that there is an organization called the National Collegiate Club Golf Association which governs collegiate club golf and helps make it a reality for 93% of juniors to play college golf at the club level. If you are thinking about playing college golf at any level, there are many companies out there to help you including Junior Golf Hub which is one of the leading organizations to help families with college golf recruiting.
The National High School Golf Association is dedicated to helping high school golfers, junior golfers and their families. If you have questions about this guide or need more advice, feel free to send us an email at Info@highschoolgolf.org.