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How Children Learn Golf Through Play

How Children Learn Golf Through Play

Learning golf can (and should) be fun!

Golf is a neat sport, whether you're into mini golf, or the full-sized version. And we all know that sports are a great benefit for children all children, including those with special needs. If you know that an individual sport is right for your child, why not look into golf? Kate Tempesta, owner of Kate Tempesta's Urban Golf Academy, shares her ideas for teaching golf through play.


I talk a lot about play and even close my emails with the phrase “PLAY to learn!” It’s so much more than a catchy slogan, or a fun idea; it works.

Recently I discovered Teaching Games For Understanding, a concept in the physical education world that utilizes this very idea—that through play we actually absorb concepts and real, true, lasting learning takes place. It’s an idea I’ve known to be true for years and I was so excited to learn that it is part of the dialogue all over the world!

Let’s think about it. This idea applies to the sport of golf. If we tell a child to work on her stance, what does she hear? What does “grip” mean to a seven-year-old? Posture? Alignment? Etiquette? I could go on. But what if we could teach all of these very real (and important) specifics in ways children internalize? What if there was a way to teach alignment without having the word itself be the most important element?

By playing games to learn skills, we allow the doors of learning to open. Instead of being inundated and threatened by “getting it right,” children are encouraged to explore. Play is many things; it is dynamic, it is moving, and fluid. It is real and it is also joy and fun. The children then are so positive about whatever activity they are engaging in that they are not just motivated to work harder—but to want to work harder. And as an important result they learn and keep coming back to learn more.

What do they learn? In addition to the basic mechanics, they learn the love of the game. Golf, in many ways, is the paradigm sport. It operates at the focal point of social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development. Teaching through play not only helps form the skill of the sport- it also helps form the player. Being mindful of the critical, and incredibly impressionable stage that children, this is of the utmost importance. It sets the tone and structure for how to teach the lesson. This way children can learn the lesson and therefore love the lesson.

Teaching through play cultivates a life-long love of learning…in all things. And as a result golf can instill an appetite for growth and learning in young students.

Kate Tempesta

Author: Kate Tempesta, Founder, Owner, and President of Fun, is a member of the LPGA T&CP and the Director of the Junior Golf Program at Montauk Downs. As the leading junior golf professional in New York City, Kate’s groundbreaking curriculum combines golf basics with activities that extend and enrich learning in an environment that is both fun and challenging for children of all ages. See More

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