Golfing for families

Despite of common preconceptions, golf can be a great way to spend a day out with the family. It is an opportunity to get your children outdoors, particularly when the weather is nice. As summer comes, the hot weather will no doubt entice more people to spend the day enjoying the sun and can even be combined a nice walk if you choose not to use a buggy. Fitness levels will not be a problem as golf is not a very strenuous activity. If you think golfing could be a good activity for your family, here are a few useful tips and pointers.

Source: http://www.flickrcom/photos/larrison/

How to play

The first option is to all play individually, each taking turns to take a shot and once you have all finished, moving onto the next hole. This is great if all of your family know how to play, but for larger groups it can take a while and you should be prepared to let individuals or golfers in smaller groups go ahead of you so your group doesn’t cause a cue for a hole.

If you have an even number in your family group, there are a number of ways to play as teams. One way,is to divide the group into 2 teams, you will then all tee off as normal, but the accumulative number of strokes per team will be how the winner is decided. When played with four people on two teams, this is known as a four ball game, which is very popular in competitions.

Another option for playing golf in teams is known as alternate shot golf. In this game you divide into teams of two, who each share a ball. The members of the team will then take it in turns to take a shot and tee off. This is great if you have some members of your family more experienced than others as you can spread the talent more evenly for a fairer game, additionally this type of play tends to be quicker as there are fewer balls to be putted. A popular variant of alternate stroke golf, with two teams- known as a foursome, is also played in a number of high profile competitions, including the Ryder Cup, which will take place at Gleneagles in Scotland this September.


The Gleneagles resort where this year’s Ryder Cup will take place © Copyright Simon Ledingham and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Golfing Safety

While not a contact sport, there are some risks associated with golf. Particularly if you are golfing with children, there are a number of rules to observe, the most important are as follows:

1. Keep track of those around you. This should not be limited to your group, you should also keep track of golfers on the previous or next hole and those waiting to tee off on the hole you are on. Do not take a shot until you are happy everyone is a safe distance away

2. Get out of the way when someone is about to take a shot. Stay behind the ball and keep a safe distance to avoid the club and the ball as a shot is taken

3. Use “Fore!”- if, despite your precautions, you see that a ball is heading towards another person, yell “Fore!” to tell them to seek cover. Similarly if you hear someone yell Fore, seek cover immediately, either behind a golf buggy or tree.

4. Be aware of the weather conditions. If it is hot, keep ample supplies of water so you will not get dehydrated, conversely, if it is cold or raining, dress appropriately. In the event of lightning, most clubs will sound an alarm. If you hear an alarm or see lightning, stop the game immediately and head to the clubhouse or a designated lightning shelter.

5. Stay on paths when you move between holes. This will reduce chances of you accidentally wondering into other groups of golfers or disrupting a group’s game.

These are just a few tips, but hopefully they will be enough to help you organise a family golfing trip, it can be a great day out and a nice way to enjoy the weather and outdoors. Click here for more tips on golfing.