How to Teach Golf to a 5 Year Old
Teaching golf to a child requires a sense of fun -- the younger the child, the less emphasis you should place on mechanics.
To teach golf to a 5-year-old child, you have to think like one, and that means playfulness. Place stuffed animals by the holes on the practice green to keep it fun. And when teaching the swing, keep it simple.
Your child won't understand the golf swing if you teach it as a series of technical positions. A 5-year-old learns by imitating, so set a good example and emphasize proper behavior on the course.
Start your 5-year-old with a putter on the practice green. Position his hands on the grip with the thumbs pointing straight down the shaft.
Position his feet so they are parallel to the target line. This foot position is very challenging for a young child. He will want to face the hole (or the stuffed bunny you placed by the hole) and putt from a crochet-like position.
Take your 5-year-old on the course during the evening or other time that's not busy.
Have her watch you play and then invite her to join you on the putting green. She'll feel like she's part of the game.
Buy a 9-iron or 7-iron with a molded grip when your 5-year-old is ready to swing a club. The molded grip has a place for each of his little fingers and will help him understand how to hold the club.
Start your child's swing lesson with chipping.
Show her how her arms and the club form a letter "Y" -- relating golf to the alphabet, something she will have learned in kindergarten. Explain how she should not let the "Y" break.
Transition to a full swing by showing your 5-year-old how to make a letter "L" in the backswing. Help your child swing the club back until his straight (not locked) left arm and the club form a 90-degree angle -- or the letter "L." Help your child swing forward to form another letter "L" with a straight right arm and the club forming a 90-degree angle.
Ensure your child finishes with a balanced swing -- weight on her front foot and her belly button facing the target, just like the pictures of tour professionals. Tell her to "pose for the camera" for the count of three while you take a photograph. A young child will love to pose at the finish of her swing, and if she can do so, she has maintained good balance.
Kim Kleinle is a PGA/LPGA professional and a member of a select group certified in instruction by the Professional Golfers' Association. She began writing in 1980 after earning her degree. Her work has appeared online, in "Northeast Golfer" and in newspapers, including the "Scranton Times." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Point Park University, Pittsburgh.