Written by Adam Schwartz 

With kids leaving school for the summer break, junior golf programs will start up this June in both St. George and Mesquite. An important attribute of junior golf is not only learning the game of a lifetime but gaining experience that will benefit a young player throughout his or her educational and professional career. The programs not only develop potential physical skills but also discipline, respect, and social interaction.

Parents should support their kids in taking golf lessons, and not just beginner lessons. It’s not too early to start looking at golf at a competitive sport. The competitiveness of juniors starts with goals: breaking the game down into segments, almost like a pie chart. Junior golfers can reach their potential through swing, fitness, mental game, and course management. Successful junior programs also can allow kids to track their stats and goals using specific golf apps on their smartphones.

Clubfitting for juniors is one of the leading advantages of taking junior golf. The biggest issue I see with junior golfers is that kids are playing with clubs that are too heavy or too long for them. The parents may take an old set of clubs and cut them to what they think are the correct sizes. That is well-intentioned, but those clubs are going to be too heavy and stiff for most juniors to make a good, consistent swing.

The problems with junior golfers playing with ill-fitting clubs are the same that adults face: in the short term, it’s difficult to make a repeatable swing and good contact, and in the long term, golfers get frustrated and stop playing. That’s where proper clubfitting comes in, relevant even for a six-year-old. But with juniors, we can utilize techniques that don’t involve swing and launch monitors.

The best way for juniors to get fitted is to just have them make a swing and hold the position at the top of their backswing. If they can’t hold that position, the club is too heavy. If they spin around like a helicopter on the downswing, the club is too long.

Ill-fitting clubs lead to bad swing habits, which can be difficult to fix later. Junior golf companies, such as U.S. Kids Golf, utilize lighter shafts and smaller grips. It’s important to remember that kids can grow exponentially in a short amount of time and outgrow their set in one summer. The key is to get them fitted right away so that, if they do grow, they can adapt to clubs with the correct swing thoughts.

If you would like your kids to join a junior golf program, please consider the Virgin Valley Golf Association in Mesquite. The VVGA encourages juniors to participate in clinics and tournaments throughout the entire summer. Beginning in June, the clinics occur three times per week each month. Each clinic lasts approximately one hour. Each lesson plan consists of the rules of golf and range or short game practice, followed by a short competition. Tournaments are held throughout July and August at several of the Mesquite courses, including Oasis-Palmer, Oasis-Canyons, Falcon Ridge, Casablanca, Palms, and Conestoga. The biggest tournaments include several parent-junior scrambles, miniature putting tournaments, and the junior’s favorite: night golf.

Please contact Marisa Hansen at the Casablanca golf club to get your juniors enrolled today for the summer session. She can be reached at (435) 632-2583 or at [email protected].