I’ll admit that neither of my kids were very keen on going to a golf camp—at least not initially. Syd wanted to hang out with her friends and Liam wanted to play on his iPad. I wanted both of them doing something other than wandering around the house. Despite their protests, we packed their clubs into the car and headed to the nearby range where the program was held. Clubs, by the way, are optional, with TGA supplying them, but Syd and Liam both have their own sets.
Brian Miller, who runs the program with some assistants, is a big engaging personality. You’ll note that one of the elements that sets TGA apart is that it doesn’t have to be run by golf pros. The basis of the program, created by founder Josh Jacobs, is that PGA professionals aren’t necessarily needed to teach kids to play the game. I agree. Think about it—you don’t have pro hockey players teaching your kids to stickhandle, and it isn’t a Triple-A player who shows your child how to throw a baseball. It is usually parent volunteers, people who have a passion for the sport and have some knowledge. In my experience in fastball, I taught my daughter to pitch windmill style, but once she progressed beyond my knowledge base, I brought in a coach who knew far more than I do. There’s no reason golf shouldn’t be the same—pros aren’t necessary at the start.
Despite the apprehension my son and daughter initially had, they quickly warmed to Miller. He set the rules and expectations out clearly in the intro on the first day. Golf, he explained, is about honor, friendship and honesty. He spent about 20 minutes talking to the kids about safety and how their day would progress. Then they went off to the range.
If you’ve ever accompanied a group of children to a driving range, then you know it can be stressful. Instructors I’ve spoken with say they are always worried about the potential for an injury and injuries caused by a golf club aren’t pretty. But Miller and his assistants had things in hand. The group started with a wedge and went to the matts.