A child plays naturally fast, sometimes too fast.
However, his rhythm of play is directly linked to his age and level of play.
A child goes through four phases :
- The young child under 9 years does not have sufficient power of concentration and should be accompanied by an adult member of his family to cushion the shocks of the game and to give encouragement. A missed putt of 50cm hurts badly…
- A child of between 9 and 11 years has only about 30 – 35 minutes concentration span in a classroom with 25 other children and a room of around 90 square metres. A round of golf takes 4 hours and covers 80 hectares …… The loss of time comes from his apprehension of the game : advancing too slowly while he chats with his friends and spends a lot of time looking for his ball because he rarely looks to see where it lands.
- Between 11 and 13 years the level of his game is much improved. He has applied himself to the game. The young player goes around the course without worrying about the time – but always very quickly. He plays while walking, goes straight to his ball, checks it and hits it without asking himself any questions. His swing, his physical fitness, his passing bouts of adolescent humour are supported by the rhythm.
- From 14 years onwards the child enters a turbulent period. He no longer learns Lafontaine or Shakespeare and golf becomes a multitude of things : passion, frustration, dreams, obsession, truth, disillusion, stress, meditation. For the poor parents who fight to bring the child back to the essentials, “take your exams first” is a difficult message to pass. Anything can happen, but years of technical and tactical work will, fortunately, never be forgotten.
In all these stages of growing up, the structures around a child must be very attentive. The adult accompanies the young child so that he can beat the course and when this is finished the coaches, educators and the Marshal take over to instil the fundamentals (to struggle against intellectualisation and rather prefer structuration, the strong images on the television are a precious help).
The young player must not slip. He is the responsibility of adults and only adults. The risk is that he will get used to a rhythm which is not adapted to his age (generally by copying others), which he will have difficulty in changing if he gets to a level where the demands are much more drastic in terms of rhythm of play.
In a golfing environment, non-family adults in charge of children of all ages should not talk to them only about golf but also include other topics in the conversation. The mental balance of the child depends on this, as golf is the ultimate individual sport. The respect of the child for the adult will only increase as a result.
Golfing holidays with the family are a good and desirable safety valve, the child discovers other horizons, architectures, countryside, people and he is faced with other challenges.