Mom, I’m So Bored, What Can I Do?

By John Means, PGA Professional and Owner John Means Golf Camp and Schools

The question is, junior camps, junior clinics or junior individual lessons? With so many choices, how do you know which one is best suited for your children. The answer is easier than you think, and it totally depends on what kind of experience you want for your young golfer and what age they are when you decide to make that choice.

Junior individual lessons are for the older junior golfer, one that has the attention span that will last for an hour, and then be willing to take the time to practice what has been taught during the week prior to the next lesson. Junior clinics are typically offered for 1-2 hours a week, for several weeks in a row, and cater to those players that are just beginning to learn the game. Clinics typically have very high student/teacher ratio, as much as 10 students per one instructor, and they do a great job in introducing the game and the social aspect of golf. Junior golf camps, usually five consecutive days of concentrated instruction and golf, offer the best of long term learning due to the repeated instruction, low student to teacher ratio, and the constant monitoring of the fundamentals from station to station. Psychologists tell us that it takes 21 days to break a habit or 1000 successful motions to create a new habit. Junior golf camps allow those 1000 motions to be made under supervision and your young golfer will come home with a new swing and a new knowledge of the game due to the repetition and supervision.

Let’s take a closer look at junior golf camps. Junior golf camps come in many varieties. Some camps include swimming and other activities, while some camps offer gifts and the promise of meeting celebrities. You, as a parent, must take the time to understand exactly what kind of camp in which you enrolling your son/daughter. The best learning camp is a fundamental camp, one that stresses the golf fundamentals continuously as they move from putting to chipping to pitching and finally fullswing. In addition, the instructors need to have the credentials to teach these fundamentals, and there must be enough instructors to insure that each camper receives the attention they deserve. Also, part of each day should be spent on the golf course, learning course management skills, course courtesy, and of course, behavior, not to mention the time to interact with fellow campers in a more relaxed setting (just plain having fun!)

Junior camps also offer a variety of sessions, commuters (campers that go home for dinner and then come back in the morning) and residential campers who are housed on site. The groups are formed based on age and ability, so that the material taught is not too fast or slow for the group, and each group then learns the fundamentals from start to finish. Last but not least, price does not indicate the quality of the camp. Many camps are used as fundraisers for college athletic programs or to fill a void of patrons at your local golf course. Take the time to research the camp, the instructors, and the results of students that have attended the camp previously. A junior camp could and should be the highlight of a young golfer’s summer, and enhance their game to a much higher level!

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