What makes a great junior summer golf camp?
Golf is a great activity for kids because it is outdoors, there’s plenty of exercise, and it’s a terrific way to be with friends and even make new friends. Plus golf is a game they will play for life, and the earlier they get started the better they’ll get.
Here’s a list of five important qualities to look for in your summer golf camp.
• Is it fun? – Let’s face it: the number one reason juniors play sports is to have fun. If kids enjoy the sport they will keep at it. In fact studies show that the main reason kids drop out of a sport is because it stops being fun for them. Since summer camps are often an introduction to the sport for many juniors they should be designed with both fun and learning in mind.
For example at the Eric Jones Golf Academy summer camps we utilize the “FUNdamentals” approach: learning through fun. Juniors are taught the basics of a skill such as driving, putting, or chipping. They spend time practicing, then they put their skills to work in an activity, game, or competition. They learn without even knowing it!
• Is it Safe? – All sports involve some degree of risk, so it is up to the camp organizers to structure an environment where the kids have enough freedom to learn and have fun while minimizing the risk of injury to themselves or to others. Juniors need to have the rules explained to them clearly and they need to know how to take responsibility for their actions. Groups need to be small so that there is continuous supervision, and they need constant reminders of how to be safe throughout the day.
For example at the Eric Jones Golf Academy the first thing juniors learn is that the number one rule is “Safety First.” But we go beyond just saying it: we demonstrate all of the safety rules such as how to hold the club during transitions and where to stand when they are not hitting. We take safety VERY seriously, which is why our groups are all small – never more than 6 campers to one instructor. Every day the kids are reminded of the safety rules, and every day we have an award for “Safest Camper” as an incentive. This ensures safety throughout each and every day.
• Are the Instructors Qualified? – Not all summer camps are created equal, and the one factor that sets great camps apart from all the others is the quality of the staff. First and foremost the staff should be knowledgeable about the sport. But it is often the intangible skills that have the biggest impact. After all, staffers have to be mentors, counselors, cheerleaders, disciplinarians, organizers and facilitators – often all at the same time. Camp counselors must know how to help kids form new friendships, overcome challenges, and build character while staying positive and supportive. A great staffer will not only share their expertise; they will share their enthusiasm and passion which can create a truly memorable camp experience as well as a life-long love for the sport.
For example our founder Eric Jones is a full Class “A” PGA professional. A former Player and Coach at Stanford University, he also holds a Masters degree in Sports Psychology and is a 2-time World Long Drive Champion. He’s been sharing his passion for golf with juniors since 2003, which is why he was recently named the Northern California PGA Teacher of the Year. His staff is comprised of PGA professionals and college golfers – all of whom are carefully selected not just for their knowledge of golf, but for their enthusiasm and passion for helping juniors learn the game.
• What is the Camp Philosophy? In addition to providing a fun experience you’ll want to know the camp’s philosophy. Does the camp stress competition or cooperation? Structured learning or free-form? Outcomes or effort? Research shows that emphasizing the importance of effort helps children to develop a passion for learning and a “can do” attitude that carries over into every aspect of their lives. You know your child best so it is important to find a camp that is a good match.
At the Eric Jones Golf Academy summer camps our guiding philosophy is to encourage effort over outcomes. Emphasizing effort encourages experimentation, creativity, self-confidence and problem-solving skills. While our camps and lesson are highly structured they are designed with flexibility in mind so that we are constantly recognizing and praising effort and perseverance, where there is no right or wrong: only the chance to learn and improve.
• What will my junior learn at summer golf camp? As a parent you want to know that your child will actually learn something at camp. Overly-large camps with high student/teacher ratios and inexperienced staff are often unfortunately little more than baby-sitting. Your best bet is a camp that has a well-defined structure and a low student/teacher ratio so your child gets the personal attention they need. There should be a recognizable progression of skills an established goal. By the end of camp your child should be able to demonstrate the skills and knowledge they have gained.
At the Eric Jones Golf Academy junior summer golf camps each day is planned out to the minute. Campers rotate through a series of stations devoted to specific skills and activities with never more than a 6:1 student/teacher ratio. Students learn GASP (Grip, Alignment, Stance, Posture). They learn how to hit a golf ball, how to hit it the right direction, and then how to hit it the right distance – which is really what golf is about. The last day of camp all juniors have the opportunity to use their newly-learned skills to by going on the golf course to play. The ultimate goal is to teach juniors enough skills so they can be comfortable playing golf anytime and anywhere with their friends and family.
To enroll your junior just click the link to our Summer Camps