Parental Guide



I believe golf can offer your child a very special and lasting experience. Here at Westchester Country Club we have a facility and a golf staff that are second to none. Our teaching staff is experienced, knowledgeable and totally committed to your child’s enjoyment, safety and development.


Experts tell us that the role of parents is extremely important in the development of any young athlete, and golf is no different. When I am coaching juniors I want the parents to be actively involved, I have many parents who I consider an “assistant coach”, and I encourage this. In my experience it is a vital part of the learning process for the child.


When starting kids it is never too soon as long as you know the rules. If your child is pre first grade then bring them to the range or a short game area and let them try it out. Give very simple guidance and let them have fun. I like kids to start coaching at ages 5 for girls and 6 for boys. Our level 1 junior clinics are perfect for this age group but if you choose to start working with a personal coach earlier on, that could be even better.


As your child gets older our Harry Cooper Golf Schools are a perfect learning environment, but I do believe personal instruction should now become part of the process. Find yourself a coach with a proven record of success with juniors, and someone who you feel you can build a lasting relationship with. Your family and their golf coach could be involved with each other for many years to come.


When juniors get to a high standard of play the role of parents is equally important and sometimes frantic. You will need to know about tournaments, high school golf, possible college golf and how to nurture an elite athlete. The right fit when choosing a golf coach should be someone who is experienced in all of these areas of junior golf.


I should note that much of my junior teaching and that of our junior clinics is based on Long Term Athletic Development which is briefly explained on this web site. I would encourage every parent whose children are involved in any sports to study this more.


Finally it has been my privilege to coach hundreds of children over the years. I am proud of the fact that many of my students have had considerable success in the game, from high school and local tournament success to being nationally ranked and winning competitions at AJGA and IJGT national levels. I have taught many juniors who have received college scholarships and I have taught several kids from a very young age who have went on to play in major championships including The Masters, The Open Championship and the Women’s US Open.
Hopefully in these coming pages you can get a little insight of my beliefs on how we can help your child develop and get the most from golf. My teaching is based on experience, modern swing techniques, and sports science.




The Long Term Athletic Development model was created by Dr Istvan Balyi who is one of the foremost experts on long-term athletic development and periodization training.


Balyi’s model outlines the different stages of athletic development children go through and when and what you should be teaching during these specific time frames. This model has been adopted in sports institutions and organizations around the world and their successes are too numerous to list. In recent years this or similar models are being recommended and adopted by successful golf programs and golf associations all around the globe.


Within this framework younger athletes would spend as much time developing fundamental movement skills and physical skills as they do developing sports specific skills. As the child gets older and develops more as an athlete the training becomes more sport specific, eventually becoming intense training and conditioning. The final development stages are focused on honing these skills and learning how to compete successfully.


Outline of Long Term Athletic Development:

Stage 1: FUNdamentalsAge:
Boys 6-9
Girls 5-8
Focus on developing basic movement abilities and physical skills. Emphasis is on play, participation and having fun in as many different sports as possible. The goals are to develop and improve balance, flexibility, agility, speed and hand to eye more ...
Stage 2:
Learning to Train
Boys 9-12
Girls 8-11
The child now learns more advanced level sport specific skills. Other sports and activities are still encouraged as is the development of physical skills. The competitive element of sport is introduced, but not over emphasized. The goals are to develop sport specific skills and more...
Stage 3:
Training to Train
Boys 12-16
The athlete continues to develop advanced level sports specific skills. The amount of practice increases but the intensity remains moderately low. Mental preparation is introduced and learning how to compete is expanded. The goals are to develop advanced level skills.
Stage 4:
Training to Compete
Boys 16-18
Girls 15-17
Coaching and training become much more individualized. Specific programs are designed to address each individual’s strength and weaknesses. Practice becomes much more intense as does competitive training. The goals are to hone advanced skill levels and learn how to successfully compete.