The ancient philosopher who said that “families who play together, stay together” probably never met any of today’s busy vacationers, who are faced with a more daunting task—“how do we get our kid away from the video games?”
The answer to the second quote lies in the first, and on Hilton Head Island, that answer could, and should include getting them out to play the Island’s signature sport. Admittedly, golf probably hasn’t been as hospitable to the younger generation as it could be, but the game is progressing and now Lowcountry golf courses can’t wait to host your kids and possibly spark the same love of the game so many of us supposed-grownups have developed.
Nearly every course in the Lowcountry has rolled out the green carpet to become more family friendly, with 5 and even 6 different teeing areas to allow players of every skill level the chance to succeed in this often most frustrating game. Most courses also have special rates for juniors and families as well, making the sport so much more affordable for a family outing any time of the day.
As for the instruction that can really light the fuse of fun for younger players, Old South Golf Links’ Junior Golf Camps just off the Island, and daily drop-by opportunities at Palmetto Dunes and the Golf Club at Sea Pines, as well as the Junior Players Golf Academy at Port Royal and Shipyard Golf Clubs are just a few of the public course offerings for kids who’ve never picked up a club before to those who just want to improve on the game they brought with them on vacation. And most importantly, the courses are tailoring their instruction to the shorter attention spans of today’s kids.
Old South has a junior program that’s been growing for nearly a decade, in cooperation with the Island Rec Center . With seven instructors on staff and a double-ended range with separate chipping and putting greens, Old South has full-day camps every Tuesday, a 90-minute camp every Wednesday morning and half-day camps every Thursday afternoon during the summer where players as young as 8 years old can get full-swing instruction, putting lessons, help with bunker play and even on-course play for the half-day and full-day campers. The kids don’t even have to bring their own clubs, as generous donations from sponsors like the British Open Pub have donated sets of age-appropriate clubs from US Kids Golf. Drinks and snacks are included for the campers (Old South is one of the few courses with its own ice cream machine).age. Camp costs can be as low as $30 for the 90-minute clinics to $75 for the half-day camp and $150 for a full-day of instruction and play. For more information, visit www.oldsouthgolflinks.com or call (843) 785-5353.
The JPGA program at Port Royal and Shipyard takes kids as young as 5 years old any weekday morning for a 3-hour camp that features putting, chipping and pitching contests as well as full-swing and short game fundamentals and exercises that’ll help them no matter what other sports they play. Clubs are provided for those who need them and costs run from $75 for one student to $65 each for two or more. For more information, call (843) 686-3355.
The Golf Club at Sea Pines makes it even simpler. At 9am every weekday morning, and at 3:30 every afternoon, beginners of all ages are invited to a clinic that, for $25, gives award-winning instruction and games to challenge and entertain, only takes an hour, and covers a different club every day. Visit www.seapines.com for more information. Palmetto Dunes offers similar clinics at 9am each weekday, again covering a different club each day. Visit www.palmettodunes.com for more.
You remember that moment when golf hooked you for life. You can give your kids that same opportunity to fall in love with a game that’ll be around long after their video game days are over. And the feeling you’ll both have the first time your young one wins a hole, or a match from you? Priceless!