Your little golfer has been practicing by going to the range as well as playing on the course regularly. You cannot wait to begin watching your child play in tournaments, but you wonder what the best way to begin is.
Before beginning to play in tournaments, there are a few things that you and your little golfer need to practice.
Pace of Play
Pace of play is the amount of time that you are allotted to finish playing each hole. When playing golf, you have 15 minutes to complete a hole. To prepare for tournaments, practice timing yourself from the time that you arrive at the tee until the time that you finish the hole. If you go over your time per hole, practice walking up to your ball faster.
Keeping Scores on a Scorecard
One of your duties as a caddy is to help your player keep their score and one of their opponent’s scores on a scorecard. When playing with your golfer on the course, practice keeping your score and theirs. If you happen to be caddying rather than playing, then practice keeping your child’s score.
Refreshing the Rules of Golf
There are many rules in golf, but that doesn’t mean that you have to know all of them to play in tournaments. Some good rules to review are how to proceed when the ball goes out of bounds, in a lateral water hazard, and a water hazard.
Creating your warm-up routine
Practice creating a warm-up routine that works best for your little golfer. If you find that they don’t have a lot of energy, then you may not want to hit balls at the range for an hour and a half before your round. If this is the case, then you may want to putt and chip for a while and then hit a few range balls. As well as figuring out how much time practicing shots, you also need to figure out what order you want to practice. Do you want to putt, chip, or go to the range first?
Practice playing like it is the day of the tournament
A great way to practice this is to pick a day and make a tee time. Then practice prior to that day as if you were preparing for a tournament (including swing tweaking, putting or chipping practice, etc.). Then eat proper meals before the round and head to the golf course for your tee time.
Once you arrive at the course, go through the warm-up routine that you have created. Make sure that you and your player plan enough snacks and drinks before you play. Then at your tee time, proceed to the tee box and practice caddying for your player.
Remember to keep an eye on the clock, keep score on the scorecard, care for your player, and most importantly be a positive encourager for your player. Now is not the time to instruct, save that for practice. Think of your tournament or round of golf, as a time to enjoy and make memories.
Once your player is able to shoot in the 60’s on 9 holes, you are prepared and ready to enter tournament play. The U.S. Kids Golf Greenville Tour offers a spring, summer and fall series with tournaments that run March-Nov. These tournaments are open to boys and girls ages 5-14 with parent caddies. Boys ages 5-10 and girls ages 5-11 play 9 hole rounds and can ride on a golf cart from the green-to-the-tee (after you finish one hole until you get to the next hole). Boys ages 11-14 and girls ages 12-14 play 18 hole rounds. These tournaments also have a 10-stroke maximum, so your golfer can pick up the ball after they get to 10 strokes on a hole. This tournament series also offers the opportunity for your golfer to grow and qualify for state, regional, world and teen world events.