Respect, patience and fairness: Golf relies on some important social skills. That’s why the sport is a good choice for children, experts say.

To start with, kids must learn the rules of the golf course – without focusing on competition. This is partly because you don’t have a direct opponent in golf. “Everyone is their own referee,” says Susanne Leimeister from the German Golf Association.

Six is a popular age for kids to start playing golf, perhaps in a club. The training can be very playful: Children learn in small groups and do small runs or competitions with different balls.

Training usually takes place once a week. “In the beginning, it is more about coordination and, of course, physical fitness,” explains Leimeister. Because swinging a golf club is so challenging, learning the right technique is particularly important.

Golf clubs for children are generally made of plastic and have a bigger head than usual. Before moving onto the tee (the stand used to support the golf ball), the children learn how to put the ball into the hole from a short distance.

As they practise and get better, the children progress to making tee-offs and playing tournaments on bigger courses.

“Progress depends on talent and the will of the child. However, as a rule children learn very quickly,” says Leimeister. Golf is not any more expensive than other sports. For beginners, there are trial courses, and golf clubs can be hired at most golf courses.

One problem, for both children and parents, is getting to the golf course in the first place. Not everywhere has a golf course nearby and the majority are most easily reached by car. – dpa