Golf is a wonderful sport for kids of any age to get into. Not only is it a great way to develop strength and fitness outdoors, but golf lessons also promote discipline, concentration, and commitment to practice—skills which will serve them well all throughout life.
However, doing well at golf also requires a certain degree of accuracy and, if they’re just starting out getting good at the game, can—at times—seem frustrating. To avoid that feeling and make practicing positive again, here are some tips used by one of the world’s leading junior coaches, James Hong.
Who Is James Hong?
Internationally recognized as a leader in junior golf development and innovation, James Hong is known for his holistic approach to training future golfers. His lessons aim not only to instill a sense of positivity and fun but also touch on all aspects of being an athlete, from nutrition to mentality to fitness. The results speak for themselves—in his time as a director of Junior Golf Programs in Port Washington on Long Island, attendance and participation of junior golfers has increased tenfold.
Junior Golf Swing Drills
One of the key aspects to Hong’s teaching—and, indeed, any golf lesson—are swing drills. Hong’s unique approach is specially designed to foster self-confidence in young players who might usually find hitting for accuracy challenging.
Going Short and Long
Drills begin with setting the pin at a particular distance—usually an average length for the club being played. Instead of being asked to hit the ball to that distance, the player is asked to hit it either closer or farther than the target. In other words, when they are asked to hit “short,” they are meant to deliberately under-hit the ball, and then over-hit the ball when they are asked to hit “long.”
Where Failure Is Success
The benefits of this method are clear. Instead of almost every shot being labeled a “failure” because it doesn’t hit the target, hitting short or long is considered a success—because that’s exactly what they were asked to do!
At the same time, hitting between short and long allows junior golfers to develop a feeling for how power and swing translate into distance and how they can control it. Draw up a junior golf lesson plan that alternates between short and long strokes. You’ll find that, over time, the player will naturally improve their accuracy and get closer and closer to the target.
This is the “Goldilocks Effect,” where a player will recognize what makes a ball go too far or not far enough and will internalize the necessary adjustments needed to make the shot “just right.”
More Junior Golf Drills Ideas
This same positive method can be applied to many other aspects of the game and their swing. Hong suggests deliberately alternating the ball impact between the toe and the heel of the club, for example. This will give young players an idea of what feels wrong and right and how a swing can translate into a mishit.
Hitting the same shot with different clubs is also a great idea. Take five shots with each club and note down the scatter pattern of the shots versus where the student is aiming for. Like before, there’s no wrong shot here—you’re just trying to see how the aim and swing translate into where the shot ends up.
The Right Mentality in All Conditions
One of the biggest factors in coaching kids golf is the psychological. They can spend all day on the driving range hitting perfect shots, but often, when faced with an actual golf course and real pressure, all their training and discipline suddenly disappear.
For Hong, this makes his Foresight Sports launch monitor the most important tool in his golf lessons. Not only does it let him precisely measure and analyze the hits of his junior students as an indoor driving range, but it also allows perfect simulation of outdoor and match conditions, even when the weather’s not good enough to be on the course.
In other words, we let you play real golf. To find out more about how our high-tech simulators can help you (and the budding pro in your family) achieve your potential, contact us today.