10 Can golf have a positive impact on chil- dren from a young age? Tim and Pam Kwiat think so. Their son, Aiden (fea- tured on cover) started playing golf when he was a mere three year old, and has developed a real love for the sport. According to golf enthusiasts, chil- dren’s early involvement in the world of golf are beneficial from both a mental and physical perspective. It is not only a question of improving hand eye coor- dination and getting kids to do some exercise, there is also a social element that includes etiquette, respect and sportsmanship, which is regarded as being integral with the game of golf. Furthermore, these various positive ele- ments can be instrumental in the devel- opment and growth of young children. PHYSICAL / HEALTH BENEFITS In terms of physical benefits there are three areas that golf helps improve and these are stability skills, manipulative and object control skills, and awareness. • Stability skills refer to agility, bal- ance, coordination and speed. These are key skills in the game of golf as it is all about hand eye coordination and excellent balance. • Manipulative and object control skills are being able to strike, catch or throw an object and in the case of golf, the dexterity golfers have with clubs comes in very handy. • Awareness is of paramount impor- tance in golf. Spatial awareness and kinesthetic awareness are sensory skills that your body uses to know where it is in space. MENTAL BENEFITS Golf is very much a mental game. It is a game where you have to Stop, Think, Strategize and assess situations that are within the framework of very complex rules. This requires the development of mental skills such as problem solving, risk assessment and determination. Problem solving comes in very handy when you are faced with bunkers, water hazards, wind, and other obstacles and you have to reach the green. Golfers are required to think strategically to find the most efficient way of reaching the pin with the fewest strokes within the limitations at hand. Risk assessment as well is useful as it allows golfers to evaluate the cost/ben- efit of one type of approach as opposed to another. Should a golfer try and hit the ball over the lake and straight onto the green or allow another stroke to go around the lake? It depends on a series of factors including wind direction and speed, and a conviction in one’s own skills and abilities. Determination might seem fairly obvious in golf but it is absolutely fundamental. Being a sport where golfers solely depend on themselves, they have to be determined that they will achieve their objectives. SOCIAL BENEFITS While golf develops excellent motor skills and great mental abilities; the sport also harnesses a child’s grasp on understanding rules, etiquette, respect and integrity. The game of golf teaches children the principles of honesty and integrity. These are lessons that will help them deal with situations both at school and at home and interact with people in the real world. Golf is one of the few sports where one has to self-impose rules and penalties. It goes without saying that these key traits of respect, honesty, integrity and working both alone and in a team are fully transferrable to the real world for both children and parents. In today’s world of video games and smart phones, child obesity is a con- cern nationwide and it can be hard to drag your son or daughter out of the house. Golf is the perfect excuse to spend an entire day enjoying nature and presents the opportunity to develop healthy, lifelong exercise habits! The physical benefit of just being outside, surrounded by the gor- geous green environment is priceless. Summer Fun…Children and Golf – Why it’s a good idea to get them started young Summer Fun…Children and Golf – Why it’s a good idea to get them started young WELL-BEING