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Need to burn your kids’ energy? Try golf -- as in, real golf

Contributed photo/Keith Dunlap
Contributed photo/Keith Dunlap (GMG)

Are there any parents out there who have energetic toddlers or young children -- and you’re still looking for ideas on how to keep them active in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic?

It’s no doubt been a challenge for parents of young kids who are having to go without (or, at best, with limited availability) vacation bible schools, camps or other activities normally available during the summer to keep children moving and occupied.

With school options still up in the air in several parts of the country, and hot, summer weather still sticking around for a couple of months, keeping young kids active will still be an important task in the near future.

But if you’re in need of more ideas, how about this one: Have you tried taking your kid golfing?

We’re not talking about miniature or putt-putt golf.

Taking your child to an actual golf course might have more benefits than you think, and can be another ally in the never-ending battle to keep young kids moving and out of the house during the pandemic.

Here are five reasons why.

1). They get to ride in a cart!

Mentioning this from the beginning will probably be convincing enough for your kid to want to try golfing. Just make sure you are always behind the wheel and it will bring smiles for all.

2). It’s a great way to get outdoors.

Going golfing can actually be the equivalent of going on a nature walk, with trees, birds, ponds and rides through the woods dominating the scenery. Depending on which part of the country you golf, other wildlife such as deer and alligators can also easily be present on a golf course.

3). It teaches kids life lessons.

Being honest, courteous to others and disciplined are traits that are bigger in golf than in most other sports. Writing incorrect scores on a scorecard is an absolute no-no -- and not only can get golfers banned from events, but it makes anyone who cheats difficult for others to trust.

Golfers are taught to be benevolent to playing partners, whether it’s being silent for when shots are being hit, to not stepping in the line of their putt toward the hole on the green. Golf can also be a frustrating game, so it takes discipline not to get too angry and control one’s temper.

These are all positive lessons that kids can start learning at an early age that can be translated into everyday life.

4). It develops physical attributes, and gets them out of house for hours.

Even though you are enticing your kid with a chance to ride in a cart on the golf course, they will still get exercise and develop physical traits, none more obvious than hand-eye coordination.

Swinging a golf club is also good for a body’s core muscles, and there still will be plenty of walking and running involved to and from the cart around the fairways and greens. On a side note, you don’t have to have your kid hit EVERY shot. For example, you can have your kid hit a drive off the tee, then pick up his or her ball and put it down in the fairway much further along toward the hole to hit the next shot.

You can just have your child hit the ball in the fairway only, or just go putt on the green. That should save some time, but either way, it’s a great way to get a kid out of the house for an extended period of time. A round will take roughly four hours if you play 18 holes, or two hours if it’s just a nine-hole experience. Either way, that’s a valuable break from screen time.

5). It’s not as expensive as you think.

A new set of kids clubs can be purchased for about $100, and they can last for years. Used ones can be even cheaper. Golf courses know the value of introducing the game to youngsters, and thus, will often offer heavy discounts for kids to play, if they even charge them at all for a round. Nonprofit organizations such as the First Tee has chapters in regions throughout the country, and partners with select golf courses to offer after-school or in-school programs that are either inexpensive or free, so kids can get involved in the game.

Some golf courses also will offer discounts for families who want to play. Just call around local courses to see what they have, and you might be surprised to find out it’s not a whole lot more expensive than other recreational activities. In some instances, it might even be cheaper.


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