Measuring Your Child for Junior Golf Clubs
Choosing the Appropriate Junior Golf Equipment
So you're thinking about starting your child in junior golf this year, and not sure where to start looking for the appropriate equipment.
The good news is that the golf industry has made great strides in recent years developing age-appropriate equipment for youth golfers. In years past, before junior golf shafts were available, parents made it a common practice to cut down an adult set of golf clubs for their kids. This is certainly an inexpensive way of creating a junior golf set; however, it is not a good solution for several reasons:
- Most men's golf club shafts are on the stiffer side and do not provide enough flex for the youth golfer.
- The heads on adult golf clubs are heavier and difficult for the golf junior to lift and get a good backswing.
- The lofts on adult clubs (mainly men's clubs) are usually stronger which makes it difficult for the younger golfer to get the ball airborne.
All of these problems will make it much more difficult for your beginning golfer to learn the game and enjoy golf. They may become easily frustrated and lose confidence, thus causing them to lose interest in golf altogether.
Most junior golf clubs today are made with the child's height and weight in mind, and are very affordable. The materials used in these youth clubs are less expensive in order to keep the overall cost down. Today's kid's clubs are more lofted to give your child a better opportunity to get the ball airborne, and they weigh less which makes it easier for younger golfers to control the clubs.
The question then becomes how do you determine the correct set for your child.
How to Measure Your Child for Youth Golf Clubs
Fitting your child for the right size golf clubs should not be taken for granted. You wouldn't want to randomly purchase just any old size 3 pair of jeans just because your toddler is 3 years old, and the same is true for golf clubs to an extent.
Most kids golf sets are broken down by age groupings and in most cases that will work fine for that age group for the beginning golfer. However, there are other considerations for parents before purchasing a set of junior golf clubs.
The length of the clubs should be based on the height and additionally the athletic ability of the child. If the clubs are too long, the golf junior will have a tendency to automatically choke down on the club, which will not be beneficial to the child's swing. Obviously, the build of the child and the athletic ability allows for slightly longer clubs in some cases. And a larger child will have more body mass which may allow for a somewhat longer club than that of a skinny tot. Then, some youth golfers will have better hand-eye coordination so a longer club could be in order.
Age-based fitting does not always allow for a proper fitting of youth golf clubs due to differences in heights and weights in the age category.
To the right is a chart that will show the best size clubs based upon the child by height (not age).
Junior Golf Clubs For Ages 3-5
Some parents, who themselves are good golfers, tend to be concerned with the swingweight of the junior golf set. With very short clubs, such as the 3-5-year-old kid's clubs shown above, the swingweight may be very low. However, the overall club weight is more important for the golf junior. For very short youngsters it is important to keep the overall weight of the club low so that they can swing more efficiently.
Taller and stronger golfers will need heavier overall weighted clubs so as to allow for a more natural swing. Too light of clubs for older children could develop bad swing habits.
The typical set for the very youngest golfer should include a putter, a single lofted iron such as a 5-7 iron and a wood. These 3 clubs will suffice in the beginning.
As your child gets older and more proficient, a good junior golf set will include the putter, a 3 wood and a 5, 7 and 9 (pitching wedge) irons. Do not add too many of the lower lofted clubs such as the 2 or 3 iron to your child's set because youngsters will not be able to get the ball airlifted with these lower clubs.
Youth Golf Can Be Very Rewarding
Choosing and fitting your youth with the appropriate clubs can be very rewarding for both you and your child. Just keep in mind that you need to choose the club length based on the child's height and ability rather than on their age. A youth club that is too long, too heavy, or too stiff will diminish your child's ability and potentially cause frustrations. Choosing the right clubs the first time around will get the desired result: a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your child.
Do not be too concerned about your child outgrowing their kid's clubs. Too long of clubs will only create poor swing habits. If your child is not succeeding and seeing good results, they will likely want to quit and give up all together.
Keep in mind that you can always pass down the undersized clubs to younger siblings or friends in future years. If your child does outgrow the clubs and you would like to continue using them, you can always lengthen the shafts rather inexpensively. You can use portions of other used steel shafts to extend the clubs or insert hardwood dowels of the appropriate size to add new length and new life onto your junior golf set.
If you do decide to purchase a little longer set of clubs for your youth golfer to extend the life of the set, no more than one-inch longer is our recommendation.
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