In my opinion, Golf, is one of the best “sports” that allows individuals to participate for a lifetime. The sport can be modified for age or injury, while still allowing those individuals to participate and be active. Although it is a sport, there are options that allow you to golf, but not necessarily play a traditional game of 9 or 18 holes. Things like mini golf, par 3 courses, or the increasingly popular Top Golf, allow the average individual to take up the sport as more leisurely.
Why should I add it to my curriculum?
- The ability for different ages, abilities, and interest levels to participate while being active is the number one reason! Like mentioned above this is a sport with a lot of wiggle room for how leisurely or competitively you wish to play. According to The National Golf Foundation, “37.5 million Americans over the age of 6 played golf both on a course (about 25.1 million) and off a course (12.4 million) doing things like top golf, or driving ranges”. That is a large number of people participating in some capacity in this sport and in a way that they find fun!
- Age doesn’t matter! For so many traditional sports, age is a factor that keeps us from participating. It’s hard to play basketball, football, or soccer as we get older. Although it may not be impossible, it is much more challenging as we age. Golf is a sport that can be modified to fit aging needs. You may have been someone who walked 18 holes in your younger years but maybe you can only walk 9 holes now, that’s ok, you are still participating and staying active. It could be that now you need to use a golf cart to ride instead of walk, that’s ok, you are still being active. There are so many ways to modify the activity to fit the needs of the aging person. According to The National Golf Foundation, “the median age of a golfer is 54 years old”.
- The sport is drawing in a younger crowd. The same source stated that “the category of young adults (age 18-34) is among the sport’s biggest customer age segments”. Many of these younger individuals are taking part in off-course activities like the driving range, indoor simulators, or Top Golf.
- The ability to introduce more minority groups and women to the sport is important.
- In an article on Golf.com, it stated that the number of “African-Americans still only make up around 5% of the nation’s golfers and a tiny fraction of the high-level amateurs and professionals.” This could be due to a lack of resources and the lack of exposure to the sport. Introducing golf into your curriculum can help make the sport more inclusive and expose your students to something they may not otherwise have a chance to experience.
- The National Golf Foundation stated that “77% are male leaving leaving female golfers to make up only a little more than 22 percent”. There is room to introduce the sport to more women and increase the inclusivity of the sport.
How can I add golf to my curriculum?
I understand Golf may not be the easiest thing to add since it is usually an expensive game to pick up, but I have some suggestions based on things I have done in my classroom.
- Take a field trip! Do you have a local mini golf course near you? Mini golf is an easy way to introduce the sport and is a great “off course” golf activity. I am lucky, in my city we have a free 18 hole course, you just bring your own club and ball.
- Getting golf balls and putters in itself can be a challenge. Ask your community for donations of old clubs. I have found a lot of people have clubs handed down to them that they don’t use. Someone recently told me to call my local golf courses and ask for donations of clubs that may have been left behind and not claimed for a while–GENIUS! You can also call driving ranges and courses to ask for donations of old golf balls they can’t use anymore. You don’t need brand new ones to begin introducing it to your students!
- Top Golf! Do you have a top golf near you? Top Golf will usually give a discount to schools that may want to come in during off hours to play. Students love the gamification and competition that Top Golf offers. This is another great “off course” golf activity.
- Get a local golf pro to do a putting course. This isn’t my original idea but I think its genius! Call your local golf courses and connect with their golf pros. Many of them are retired and looking for a way to give back to their communities. They may come in and do a putting course/class for your students. We know student’s love when anyone but us teach them!
- Add backyard games like Chippo! This is something that students can play, be competitive, and get the feel of swinging a golf club. I really like the one linked below from Amazon.
- Practice putting. You can get some inexpensive putting mats, or just the putting cups, and practice short game. This is a great way to have students practice so they feel more comfortable transitioning to “on course” play. I have some suggestions linked below for this.
- Have them build a mini golf course! This is one of my favorite things I do in my class. It brings in a level of project based learning, stem, and of course GOLF. I have students in groups design and build one hole, then as a class we play all the holes designed and we bring in guests to play. Those guests vote on their favorite! It’s a lot of fun and creates some excitement around the sport. I have this project on my TPT if you are interested.
- Watch golf! Golf is becoming easier to watch and a little more mainstream. If you have the resources to play the Masters or other big golf tournaments, do it! Students love having it playing in the background.
- Have your students discuss famous golfers. This would allow student choice on who they research and learn about. Encourage them to choose minorities and women too, not just everyone’s favorite Tiger Woods.
These are some things I have used to teach golf in my classroom! Click on any picture for the link. *links are affiliate links*