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 Singing with Sylvia for Christmas

Saskmom's Tips for Golfing with Kids

Saskmom's Tips for Golfing with Kids

We had the wonderful opportunity to play in my husband's conference's golf tournament at Furry Creek Golf and Country Club which is said to be "British Columbia's Most Scenic Golf Course."

I even won a prize! I was given a lovely new golf shirt and a 12-pack of balls because one of the organizers said I had to be the "craziest Mom alive" to bring two little ones to play 18 holes.

I was happy to accept the prizes, and, yes, I might just be crazy, but I truly love golfing with our kids! While it certainly is a fun thing to do as an adult-only break, my husband and I consider it a wonderful activity for our whole family.

Our first golf outing with our son was when he was just 8 months old. We were gifted a round of golf that year to Harbor Creek Golf Course in Elbow, Saskatchewan. I was not ready to leave my nursing baby behind, but I wasn't too sure about taking him golfing either. I am so glad that we accepted the challenge of golfing with him that year . . . and every year since.
{ Harbor Creek Golf Course, July 2009 ~ my first golf game as a new parent }      

Now that my son is 6-and-a-half, he loves the game, is comfortable with the rules and has been known to actually out-drive and out-putt his poor mom on certain holes!

My 2-year-old enjoyed doing some putting, some snacking and some collecting. I had pine cones, leaves, feathers and rocks of all shapes and sizes in my golf cart. She also created a little family of leaves, naming them and playing with them like dolls. The disobedient leaf kids kept blowing with the wind and she kept scolding them for running away.

My husband and I were chatting about it later . . . this was actually the day our kids had behaved the best this entire road trip. There was absolutely no tears, no whining and no arguing the entire time. Instead, there was a lot of laughter, conversation and high-fives. With mountain and ocean views, bridges over cascading water, wildlife, physical activity and family togetherness, what more could we all have needed or wanted?

It feels like such an unforgettable blessing to have golfed these 18 holes -- at what has to be one of the most gorgeous courses in the country -- with my little family.

Furry Creek is 35 minutes north of Vancouver, just off the breath-taking Sea to Sky Highway out to Whistler. Remember Happy Gilmore's fist-fight with Bob Barker? That footage was filmed at Furry Creek. {And, of course, my guys wanted to try to recreate that scene.}

If you haven't golfed with your kids, but want to try, here are a few things to think about:
  • Safety first -- With moving carts and flying balls, there are certainly dangers to watch very closely for in this activity. We have taught our kids along the way how to keep themselves safe and constantly watch to make sure they are obeying the rules. At least one of the adults must have their eyes on the kids at all times. The number 1 rule is to be in the cart or with another adult behind the person hitting the ball. But, of course, we still check and double-check the location of the kids before we swing. Never leave a child alone in a cart in an area where it can roll into danger. If we will be close to the cart, it is on a flat surface with no hazards nearby and the child is happily seated in the seat finishing a snack or activity, we might switch the cart off and walk away to take a shot. We try to instill a fear of flying balls and moving carts and our kids have grown to be fairly mindful of both.
  • Start with 9 -- Before launching into an 18-hole day of golf with your child, test the waters with nine. We also enjoyed sticking to par 3 courses when our kids were babies. 
  • Rent a cart -- If you are playing with two or more people and a baby, one adult can push the stroller while the other drives the cart. The cart not only is great for carrying both sets of clubs but also for a quick return to the club house in case of emergency. Do not take strollers on the greens or any other areas where golf carts are not welcome. If driving a cart with an older child, please drive slowly with one arm around them. Now that we have two children, we rent two carts so that one adult and one child can more safely and comfortably ride. One of the courses we played required this for safety reasons, and although it is more expensive, we have found it to be the safest. 
  • Plan breaks -- Plan your day around nap and feeding times. Keep a bit flexible as well, knowing the best laid plans don't always work with kids. I have had to sit out multiple shots while nursing, changing a bum or holding a sleeping child. {I think these holes should automatically be counted as par or better, don't you?!}
  • Let others play through -- You will likely play slower with kids. Keep an eye on those behind you and offer to let them play through. It makes for a much more pleasant golfing experience if you aren't worried about slowing others down.
  • Just have fun -- Golf is a fun sport. I have seen how intense others can make it. We try to keep it light, fun and sportsmanlike, especially when playing with our kids. If they see me getting frustrated with my inconsistent shots and lost balls {and there were numerous on this particular day}, they might become frustrated or afraid to fail themselves. I could care less if my kids become good golfers. I do care that they enjoy doing something fun outdoors with their family and that they find physical activities they love. You might just find, like I have, that playing with kids actually helps your game because you learn to relax a lot more. 
Do you golf with kids? Please share your tips, experiences or questions in the comments below.

Five down, seven more days to go on our family road trip. For more pictures and tales from the road, follow along on Instagram @saskmomdotcom.

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