The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews (R&A) recently announced that it will be a supporting partner for Canada’s Future Links program. Future Links is Canada’s leading junior golf development program and includes programs for children ages 6-18 of all skill levels. It was first introduced in 1996 and has since introduced golf to more than 1.3 million Canadian children.
The program continues to grow (there were 85,000 participants in 2016) and the partnership with R&A is a great boost. Junior golfer development is integral to the sport and programs like Future Links help to foster both a love and skill for the game.
Golf is a game of technical skill, but also incorporates important life skills and values like patience, respect, etiquette and honesty. Beyond developing players to compete at national and international levels, youth golf programs offer an array of other benefits including:
Anyone can play! Golfers come in all shapes and sizes; there’s not really any one body type best suited to the sport – unlike basketball or gymnastics. Golfers can begin playing from a very young age and continue well into retirement. And there are many options for adaptations as needed — check out the Adaptive Golf Association for more information — so youth of all ability levels can enjoy the game together.
Like in real life, there are rules and etiquette to follow on the golf course. Youth learn to respect other players, manage their emotions and responses to less favourable situations, and to maintain a positive outlook and persevere when things get tough.
With youth obesity and inactivity becoming a growing concern, getting off the couch and getting outside to play golf is a great way for youth to get active. Golf can provide moderate intensity physical activity, which is associated with many physical and mental health benefits. Golf can help youth meet the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology guidelines of 60 minutes of moderate-vigorous activity per day1. Plus, being outside can help boost mood, vitamin D levels, and improve sleep!
Many studies have demonstrated a link between physical activity and mental sharpness. Golf programs also requires youth to exhibit discipline, patience and respect for others which are all key attributes to success in the classroom. Add to that, the opportunity for scholarships which can open more doors to further education.
Next time you hit the links, bring the kids along and make it a family outing! Take advantage of student and youth rates, enroll your child in a golf camp or school, or take a look at Future Links programs near you. Help give youth from families with financial need a chance to participate in sport by playing in Aspen Grove’s annual David “Duck” Price Memorial Golf Tourney, where funds raised go toward Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart program.
- Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. “Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines & Canadian Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines: Your Plan to Get Active Every Day.” CSEP. N.p., 2012. Web. 12 July 2017.