Five top tips for junior golfers

Five top tips for junior golfers 


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PGA Professional Wayne O’Callaghan is one of Ireland’s top junior golf coaches. His Wayne O’Callaghan Golf Academy at The Cork Golf Centre attracts hundreds of juniors to the game. He provides PGA Play with five insightful tips to get juniors hooked on golf.

1. My number one tip for junior golfers is to focus on good fundamentals and seek out a PGA Professional in their location with a junior programme. Group tuition is great as juniors create friendships while learning.

The main fundamentals for young juniors would be aim, posture and ball positions, the grip can be developed as they get older. Learning should be fun and the fundamentals can be taught to juniors in a way that will keep them engaged. An example of how I teach posture to junior golfers is I get them to hold the top of the grip with one hand against their sternum and the other hand holding the club against the belly so it is fixed to the torso and standing shoulder width. I tell them create a tail between their legs, getting the club head to the back of the kneecap and then flex knees, they can easily relate to this and achieve great posture.

2. Junior golfers’ bodies are developing all the time so it’s important that they get clubs that are suitable to their height not their age. Buying clubs that are too long, thinking that the junior will grow into them, causes issues such as losing speed and the inability to control the club as it will be also too heavy. It would be like playing a football match in boots that are too big for them. If you are unsure if your junior is interested, start by buying one or two clubs ideally a wedge and a putter – you can always add more along the way.

3. Practice should be fun, create games and challenges juniors love that. Examples would be to tape a hula hoop onto to alignment rods and see how many in row they can chip through. Also, let juniors decide what the challenge is. Often at my academy the juniors challenge me in chipping into a pop up net. If they get one in I receive two press-ups and if I’m successful they get one. It’s great fun and everyone gets to gain some strength in the process. I’m also lucky at my own academy to have a Trackman simulator with some fantastic games that juniors love to play along with.

4. Juniors should be introduced to the course as early as possible and play from distances that are appropriate to their ability. I think it’s essential juniors learn to score low at a young age so play on a course that this is possible. Examples of distances to start – Par 3 from 30 yards, Par 4 from 60 yards and Par 5 from 70 yards. Let them enjoy making pars or even birdies and gradually lengthen the holes as they improve. There are some great junior tours now that set up shortened courses and can be a fun day out. Always praise each shot that juniors hit on the course – everyone needs encouragement, this game is hard.

5. Teach juniors the basic rules of golf such as scoring, how many clubs you can play with, how penalty shots can occur, how to mark and sign a score card if they are ready to play events and good etiquette on the course. Care of the golf course is always good advice to junior starting and the 3 R’s is a great starting point – Replace divots, Repair pitch marks and Rake bunkers after use.

Wayne O’Callaghan

Wayne O’Callaghan is one of Ireland’s leading golf professionals and operates the Golf Academy at The Cork Golf Centre in Ballincollig, Cork, Indoor Performance Studio on Lower Kilmoney Road, Carrigaline, Cork and Raffeen Creek Golf Club. Wayne is an Advanced PGA Professional. Corks only Capto Certified Putting Coach. Visit our Junior page. The Academy has 5 Junior Classes a week with the emphasis on Fun and making friends while learning golf. The golf academy has the finest and most up to date technology in the country to facilitate your golf lessons.