Let’s face it…there are a million different summer camps these days. Gone are the days when options were limited to Camp Winawaka where it was arts and crafts one day and horseback riding the next. Today, camp offerings are as diverse as kids themselves. From computers to drama, culinary to SAT prep – there is a camp to meet just about every child’s interests and talents.
For sports camps, of course there’s tennis, basketball, field hockey, and soccer – but which of these sports can be viewed as a ‘game of a lifetime’ and which offers an environment where true ‘life lessons’ can be learned; lessons which can have a significant impact on a young life and lessons which can be drawn upon both on and off the course? The clear cut winner is the game of golf.
Golf has the ability instill strong core values…values such as honesty, good sportsmanship, and integrity. In that the game relies heavily on the honor system by keeping your own score, children learn the importance of playing with integrity.
And while some may refute the fact that golf is not truly a sport…one simply needs to look at science to see the many benefits playing golf has on young minds and bodies. Golf powers the brain and challenges the mind in terms of strategy, coordination, and concentration. And during a 9-hole round, golfers cover about 3 miles and if carrying a golf bag, both the upper and lower body is getting a pretty good workout.
Once you’ve determined that golf is the logical choice for your child this summer, the next task is finding the perfect golf camp. And because golf camp options are plentiful, here are just a few guidelines you will want to consider:
-Make Sure the Camp Instructor is a PGA or LPGA Certified Member
This designation will give you confidence that the golf professional teaching your child is highly-proficient at golf instruction as a result of his/her training and certificate by the PGA of America or the LPGA.
-Ask About the Camps Policy on Child Safety
You will want to know how the camp ensures your child’s safety. Ask about everything from their policy on employee background checks to how the instructors teach young golfers golf club safety.
-Ask About Skill Development and Progress Updates
While the emphasis should be on fun…you also want to feel like there’s some real game development. Many camps offer lesson note cards sent home to update parents on progress and better yet, other camps offer updates emailed directly to you to actually see little Billy getting a hole-in-one (or two, or 10).
“We feel that golf is an ideal sport from so many vantage points. From the etiquette, to sportsmanship, to physical activity, there’s really no leisure time activity like it”, said Ted Eleftheriou, Director of Player Development Programs for the PGA of America.
Whichever golf camp you select, the emphasis should be on fun. If you are a golfer yourself, this is the perfect opportunity to add a new activity to your family time agenda and if you’re not, you just might be inspired to pick up a club and try to beat Billy with your own hole-in-one!
Marc Haddad is junior camp industry veteran and has designed and developed instructional developmental programs and camps for brands including Nike Golf and the PGA TOUR. As founder of the PGA Junior Golf Camps, his mission is to share golf with today’s youth and to encourage more youngsters to play the “game of a lifetime”. Marc can be reached at 916.476.8134 and more information on the PGA Junior Golf Camps can be found at www.pgajuniorgolfcamps.com.