Golf vacations with kids: tips for a great resort golf experience

Our kids like to golf, but they’re hardly miniature pros. They’re kids, and they want to have fun on the links. We want them to have fun, too, but also appreciate that other guests may want to enjoy the course without distractions or delays. It’s easy to get stressed when on golf vacations with kids, which is why we’ve compiled the following tips for a great golf resort experience:
pga-tour-kids

1. Pick a resort that’s youth golf-friendly.

When you step into a golf course pro shop and see only adult clubs and apparel, that’s a bad sign. A kid-friendly golf course will have kids’ clubs lining the walls, and even better yet: rentals. Think this is only the case at less luxurious nine-hole courses? Not so. Our favorite golf resort, Brasada Ranch, offers a course for the most sophisticated golfer, and yet staff members still smile when kids come in the door of the pro shop. It’s no surprise to me that Brasada Ranch is pro-youth golfer: this Preferred Hotel is a designated Preferred Family location, which means it offers kid-friendly perks on and off the links. We were able to play nine holes instead of 18 with our kids (not usually allowed for adults on the course), and the starter took extra care to time our start when no one would be crowding us.

Brasada Canyons golf

Likewise, the Coeur d’ Alene Resort in scenic Idaho appeals to kids because of its fun floating green on Lake Coeur d’ Alene, but parents will get more excited that kids golf free. Better yet: sign up for Preferred Hotel Group’s point-based reward program like we have, and Mom and Dad can golf with the kids this time around, and return later on points for a couples’ day on the links. This option extends further than Idaho: to find the best family friendly golf property that’s included in iPrefer, start at PreferredFamily.com/iPrefer. Win-win.

2. Opt for a twilight tee time.

Every golf resort has a least desirable time of day to be on the links; the key is to find out when that is, and book a tee time. Often, twilight tee times are least desirable, as the light gets bad, but depending on the resort location, the least desirable time could be mid-day or late afternoon. If you’re golfing in Palm Springs in summer, of instance, the courses are empty at 3 pm. Golfing at low-crowd periods ensures kids can golf at their own pace, and parents don’t need to worry about backing up pairs behind them. Another perk: twilight tee times are often discounted.

3. Play every other hole with young kids and beginners.

If you’re golfing with a beginner, let the starter know. If you’re indeed at a kid-friendly course, he or she will be able to offer suggestions of holes to pass up. Skipping a hole or two is a good strategy to implement when parents start to notice groups waiting for them to finish each hole, or when kids begin to wilt. Our kids are now tweens, and they’ve yet to finish 18 holes at one time.

tigh na mara

4. Try a golf academy or kids’ camp.

If you have a serious golfer in your midst, consider finding a golf destination offering a PGA Tour Academy lesson.  We had an amazing experience in Central Oregon with the PGA Academy, where our golf swing was recorded on video and we were instructed by the best. If you’re not ready to go pro, look for a resort with a kids’ camp that includes golf. We’ve enjoyed kids’ camp experiences that take kids to the driving range for a one-on-one lesson with the golf pro after-hours.

5. Play on the putting course or green.

Everyone knows to start at the driving range, but far more interesting to kids is the putting course. Many resorts now feature these ‘mini courses’, which offer nine or 18 holes complete with rolling hills and sand traps but require far shorter driving distances. In fact, your kids will need only a chipper and a putter. These courses can be completed in an hour, and cost a fraction of the price of the real deal. We tried our first putting course with the expectation that we’d graduate to the regular course right after: instead, we hit the pool, completely satisfied with our golf experience.
The most important step in experiencing a kid-friendly golf vacation is to start with a kid-friendly resort. What’s your favorite?
For more family travel tips, see Spas and Family Vacations: The Perfect Combination by Mother of All Trips.
Disclosure: This post is part of a series about Preferred Hotel Group’s Preferred Family and iPrefer programs.

About the author

Pit Stops for Kids AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly at a number of travel publications, and contributes to OutdoorsNW magazine as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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