Knoxville: A Great Place For Youth Golf

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Knoxville: A Great Place For Youth GolfSurprise! Golf is not just for middle-aged men and senior citizens. Studies show that approximately 3 million kids are playing golf these days with a little extra thanks to COVID. Golf participation had been in a downward trend for 10 years prior to the pandemic with numbers of players consistently declining. However, in 2019 the U.S. experienced an uptick that brought many youth golfers to a tee box for the first time. When sports were canceled and seasons abruptly ended due to risk of COVID transmission, golf’s wide-open outdoor setting, ample distance between players and small group gatherings attracted athletes who needed a safe outlet. Surprisingly (or not surprisingly), many young players found joy in the sport and helped revive golf for generations to come. And Knoxville just happens to be an excellent city for youth who are giving golf a go! 

Free and Low-Cost Play 

Knoxville and its surrounding area have several free and low-cost options for youth who are interested in trying the sport. If you have a child who wants to get on the greens, Concord Par 3 and Beverly Park offer free play for youth participants. Both are 9-hole par 3 courses perfect for new players. Williams Creek is an affordable, award-winning 18-hole par 3 course with a driving range and putting green that welcomes players of all ages. Fairways and Greens Golf Practice Center also offers an affordable membership with all year round play in their indoor and outdoor settings. Indoor putting greens, practice nets, and workout facilities keep players in shape when the weather is undesirable. Additionally, their heated covered driving range keeps kids warm and dry on cold wet days. The 3-hole loop offers course-play without scheduling a tee time. And TopTracer uses video feedback and games to improve accuracy and distance.  

Golf Equipment  

The cost of golf equipment is often a huge deterrent for parents when thinking of getting kids started on the course. “No clubs? No problem.” Thanks to a Sticks for Kids grant, Concord Par 3 has seven sets of clubs in five different sizes. Ask around at other places to see if youth clubs are available to borrow or rent. Ready to buy, but don’t want to spend a fortune? Look to US Kids Golf for reasonably priced sets that get endorsements from every youth coach I have ever met.   

Golf Lessons 

There are plenty of great places in the Knoxville area for beginner and experienced youth players to take lessons. The First Tee, one of the most recognized youth golf programs in the country, offers lessons to players of all ages and skill levels in a variety of locations. Coach Dave Codling, one of Knoxville’s most beloved youth golf instructors, appreciates the core values taught at First Tee throughout lessons, including courtesy, responsibility, sportsmanship and perseverance. He said one barrier that First Tee helps to overcome is “finding buddies to play with.” First Tee’s group lessons and seasonal clinics connect kids of similar ages and skill level to make practice and tournaments more fun. Coach Dave said, “When kids hit a good shot, their smiles are priceless.” Sharing those thrilling moments (along with all of the flubbed shots) with friends makes golf more motivating.   

Lessons are also available from highly qualified instructors at Fairways and Greens, Concord Par 3, and Bo Harris Golf Instruction. Families who belong to private country clubs, such as Fox Den and Gettysvue, may also consult with on-staff golf professionals regarding youth lessons.   

Tournaments 

Once children have had a few lessons and are ready to begin competition, they will find plenty of opportunities nearby. Champions Junior Golf Tournament accepts boys and girls from under age 8 through 15. Tournaments are all at golf courses in or around Knoxville.  Players are free to sign up for as many or few events as they choose. Sneds Tour of Tennessee also hosts a variety of events nearby and across the state. 

TopGolf 

The recent opening of TopGolf in Farragut has put a golf club in the hands of kids who would otherwise never have stepped up to a tee. The entertaining games, yummy food and fun-loving atmosphere enhance the appeal of golf and might spark interest for young ones to continue beyond Top Golf’s climate-controlled bays and dozens of video games.   

Overall, Knoxville proves to be an excellent location for youth interested in pursuing golf. Organizations in the area have joined their skills and resources to create multiple opportunities for kids to learn and practice at low cost, make golf buddies and play for fun!   

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Hello! My name is Tricia and I am an associate professor in the Department of Audiology & Speech Pathology at University of Tennessee in Knoxville with specialties in stuttering and early childhood language. I am a mom to 3 girls, including 10 year old twins and a 14 year old, and a stepmom to 2 boys in their twenties. In 2013, my husband, Richard, and I relocated to Knoxville from Delaware. He grew up in NY and I in Pennsylvania. We love the small city feel of Knoxville, the proximity to the mountains and the fantastic community that surrounds us in our Farragut home. We spend our evenings and weekends on the sidelines cheering on our kids in various sporting events. My primary hobby is driving children from one place to another. I have a passion for anti-bullying movements, outdoor education and building support group networks around the world. I host a podcast entitled "Stutter Stories" to help share the voices of people who stutter internationally. I am a huge fan of thinking globally and acting locally. I am glad to be a part of Knoxville Moms and feel inspired when parents connect to take action for the well-being of each other and their children.

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