Ben Bryant USGTF contributing writer
It’s that time of the year again when the school year has finished up and parents need to find something for their kids to do during the long summer days. As a golf coach, my first instinct is to brainstorm all the things necessary to organize a successful summer camp; all the nuts and bolts and logistics that go into keeping 30 grade school-age children entertained. Instead, I’d like to put on a different hat for a minute: that of the parent of an energetic six-year-old boy. From this perspective, what would be the important things to look for in a successful golf camp?
Building Friendships One of the groomsmen in my wedding was a friend I made at a summer camp when I was eight years old. You never know when you might meet a lifelong friend, and a good summer camp can provide the opportunity to do so. Golf is, by its nature, a solitary sport. As a parent, I would want to ensure that there is plenty of socialization time built into the daily schedule.
Safety and Etiquette Although he’s six years sold, I still have not taken my son to a course for a full round of golf. He’s very energetic and would likely spend most of his time wanting to run on the greens, playing in the sand traps and making lots of noise. Most of this is basic six-year-old stuff, but on the golf course it’s generally frowned upon and can even be dangerous if he’s interfering with other golfers. I’ve wanted to avoid the headache and frustration of teaching him the etiquette of the sport. They will likely be much easier for him to learn in a camp setting surrounded by kids his own age who behave the same way.
Enrichment Beyond Golf Of course, learning the basics of golf would be my number one priority for a summer camp. But if I’m going to pay good money for my kid to be in a camp, I’m going to want there to be more than just golf. What other activities does the camp offer? Do they get to go swimming or to the movies one day? Would there be any type of academic enrichment to help offset the summer regression? A camp that can provide such activities would stand out from the competition.
It Had Better Be Fun The last thing I want is for my son to associate golf with being bored in the sun. Last summer, he attended a variety of summer camps, including gymnastics and skateboarding. I asked him for his thoughts on what makes a good summer camp, and which were his favorites. It turns out he liked gymnastics camp the best, and when I asked why, he said, “The coaches were really awesome!” As it turns out, the things he wants most in a golf camp are caring coaches who help him have a good time.