Encouraging Healthy Social Development by Making Golf More Accessible and Fun
As a country that attracts thousands of golfers from Israel and the UK each year, seeking to spread our appeal to other European nations and interested parties, Cyprus can look towards on exciting golfing brand in the U.S. for a shining example on how to make golfing more “fun, funky and inclusive”as discussed in a recent news article.
Involving children in golf at an early age could set them up for success in all aspects of life. Golf can get kids physically active in a safe environment, but the benefits go beyond physical fitness. Benefits of which Tim Hazelgrove, founder of Oahu Golf Apparel (OGA), is keenly aware of. “Oh, man. There’s so many reasons. It instills integrity. You can grow a lot of friendships through golf. You learn so much. I mean, there’s so many lessons in golf: respect, honesty, like I said, integrity, you build relationships, friendships…Golf’s an honour system.”
Everyone, children especially, need some form of physical activity to keep healthy. A task that becomes increasingly difficult in this modern era of on-demand video games and social media. Junior golf programs have a special place in OGA’s policy. In a bid to make the sport more accessible the clothing apparel company donates up to 30 pieces of gear a month to programs supporting junior golf on the island of Hawaii.
“For us, it’s all about giving kids the confidence to go out there and play,” Mr. Hazelgrove stated in a recent interview and continued, “We support the kid that comes last just as much as the one that comes first in the tournaments we sponsor. Every child deserves encouragement and that’s why we insist that the clothing we give as prizes are shared with more children at junior events.”
Apart from the physical benefits, the sport brings with it many social benefits. Learning to be comfortable by oneself, as well as working with others and learning how to build relationships can come from playing golf.
The nature of golf seems to encourage kids to connect and make friends. This could be because golf can be played at an easy pace and the conversation can generally carry on easily while playing.
“It’s an outlet. You can get them out of the house, get some more active. All these kids nowadays are stuck on the computer, stuck playing video games,” Mr. Hazelgrove pointed out.
This sentiment is echoed by several research studies that argued excessive time spent playing video games could replace social activities and impact one’s connectivity with family, friends and significant others. For this reason, sports are advocated to encourage healthy social development in children.
Working alone and with a partner
Displaying more versatility than most sports, golf can be played in a number of ways. It can be played alone or with partners or in small groups or even as a team sport. As a team sport, it encourages relationship building and healthy competition. As an individual sport, it can encourage children to be more comfortable on their own. Golf is one of the few sports where all the players are on equal terms. A 14-year old girl could play next to a much older adult and both could possess equal playing ability.
Builds business skills
Decision-making skills, etiquette, working with numbers, planning and using strategies are highly valued in the business and work world. Fortunately, these skills are taught through golf. As a highly technical game, it encourages kids to make use of mathematical skills by searching for angles when putting and keeping score. It encourages strategizing as the goal of golf is to complete each round with as few strokes as possible and sometimes innovative solutions are needed to deal with a tricky slope or a tree that is in the way.
A few final words
The efforts of Oahu Golf Apparel toward making golf more accessible, especially for children, have not gone unnoticed. Since founding the company in 2016, Tim Hazelgrove has been representing Oahu Golf Apparel at every Sony Open, handing out clothing items from their colourful range. Having access to clothing keeps the costs down for young players, but more than that, the colorful prints encourage individuality.
Each design is distinct and can serve as a talking point on many occasions. Emboldened by the eye-catching designs, kids may just find it easier to approach each other and make new friends, building confidence in the process.