Introducing Kids to the Game of Golf.

Hitting the Ball

Harvey Penick taught me the game of golf starting at a very young age.  One thing that made Harvey such a great teacher is his colorful use of words… he would always know how find the right word to get the body to react the correct way.

When he started me on the driving range, his two favorite sayings were: i) Hitting the Snake and ii) Clip the Tee.  For a 5 year old, hitting a snake certainly caught my attention.  But what Harvey was really teaching me was the following:

  • Hitting the Snake – Kids often whiff the ball.  When I did that, he would say, “I bet if it was a snake you would hit that ball.”  And he was right, when I thought about hitting the snake, I would be sure to get some turf on my next swing.
  • Clipping the Tee – For whatever reason, people tend to swing differently when they see a ball on the tee vs. just a tee.  The ball brings out some extra grip pressure and the arms move a little faster… all things that are not good.  But when you ask someone to just clip a tee, they will put on a nice smooth swing.

In working with my kids, I regularly use both of these when were banging balls.  For Ally (8), she has irporated the “clipping the tee” into her pre-shot practice swings.  This has proved to be a good method to get her ready to hit the ball with good tempo. And for Katie (4), she is at the snake phase…

So next time you take your child to the golf course, remember about snakes and tee’s.

Best of luck – JB

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