ON THE LINKS: Make golf fun for the whole family

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  • | 1:14 a.m. May 28, 2015
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Golf is on the rebound, with participation numbers growing. With that growth comes more opportunities for you and your family to play golf in different ways.


If you and your family are beginners at golf, why torture yourself with four-plus hours of agonizing mishits and putts? Start slow and make golf a fun experience with each shot.

• Go to the practice range and learn how to hit a golf ball while exploring your capabilities. Hitting golf balls at a range once or twice a month lets you swing the way you want, as hard as you want, and it only takes about 30 minutes. Make a game of it — who can come closest to hitting the person driving the picker, who can hit the farthest or who can hit a certain target the most.

• Try going to the course and playing four holes or fewer. This should take you just more than an hour to play and will provide you an opportunity to get out on the course and enjoy its surroundings. Be sure to create a maximum score for everyone, so they can’t have a big score at the end of the holes you play. Encourage smaller games such as chipping or putting contests that everyone should be able to do and have fun.


Encourage your entire family to participate in activities that will create an interest level for everyone.

• Family day at the course. Go to the course with a plan for everyone. Whether it is taking a family clinic, playing modified games on the course for nine holes or having a contest each Saturday on the range, make the experience and time spent enjoyable while allowing each family member to choose the activity for the day.

• Group coaching. This is the wave of the future for golf instruction, with entire families engaging a golf instructor. Note that “coaching” is different from “teaching,” because it stresses flexibility to accommodate everyone’s schedule while incorporating other elements of golf not traditionally associated with a “lesson.”

• Leagues. Looking for a relaxed form of competition where you can test your skills and meet people of similar interests? Be willing to join or even start a league at a golf facility. Creating a family league is an up-and-coming movement around the country that allows an entire family to be a team competing against other family teams. 


Look no further than the rounds you are already playing to make them more interesting:

• Games within a game. Set up the course in two-hole, three-hole, or six-hole segments and create a goal for you to accomplish in each set that is not related to your score, such as hitting greens, or number of putts.  

John Hughes is the an award-winning golf coach whose clients include golfers of all skill levels, including major winners on tour. His website, JohnHugheGolf.com features tips, advice and the programming he offers at West Orange Country Club. 


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