How To Make Practice Enjoyable For Kids

In this video, TaylorMade ambassador Nick Dougherty delivers his expert advice on how to make practising fun for kids

Nick Dougherty and young Golf Monthly reader Josh Jackson
(Image credit: Tom Miles)

In the current day and age, getting kids into golf can be tricky. If you’ve managed that, keeping them interested is the next challenge. However, where there is a will there’s a way, and in the video and article below, Nick Dougherty shares some of his advice with promising junior and Golf Monthly reader Josh Jackson on how to make practice more enjoyable for kids...

As Nick says, for juniors especially, practising is the boring bit. They want to be out competing with their friends, but sometimes you've got to work at it. That’s how you hone your skills and ultimately make the game more enjoyable. So, what's the best way to do that?

Avoid mindless range sessions

Many amateurs don't utilise their time at the range wisely. They get bogged down with trying to hit as many balls as possible in the shortest amount of time, thinking that's the route to improvement. However, as Nick says, this sort of mindless approach won't help you get better, and it might even sap the fun out of the experience. 

Nick Dougherty and Golf Monthly reader Josh Jackson discuss how to play a shot at Wentworth

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

"When practising, it should be conscious and you should be engaged with it. That's how you make it fun and enable kids to develop their on-course prowess. If you were to put any amateur in the world on the first tee during the BMW PGA Championship Pro-Am at Wentworth, how their body feels will be completely different to sticking them on an empty driving range with a hundred balls.

"You’d almost be bored and often it won't even be good because you’re not focused at all. You’re supposed to do that to prepare for this, but if that’s got no relation at all to this on the golf course, it’s not doing you any good."

Add some pressure

One of the biggest driving range mistakes golfers make is that their practise isn't performance oriented. It's something a lot of recreational players are guilty of and Nick himself admitted the "scrape, hit" method was something that held him back in his own career.

"I myself have been a culprit. Scrape, hit; scrape, hit; scrape, hit. It's a waste of time and passing this habit onto kids will do nothing to keep them engaged."

Nick Dougherty and young Golf Monthly reader Josh Jackson discussing a short game drill at Wentworth

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

With that in mind, adding some pressure is a great way to create a fun challenge, especially for kids. According to Nick, the benefits of this are twofold. 

"First of all, it will shift the perspective of playing on the course and being terrified, to being like, 'this is fun, this is a challenge'. Second, you’ll start to get used to playing under a bit of pressure, and that means when you step on the first tee or face a shot that used to get tour knees shaking, there is a bit of a comfort in that it isn’t that different."

Nick Dougherty demonstrating a short game drill at Wentworth

This landing spot drill is a great way to add pressure and an element of fun to your practise

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

For Josh, who plays off a handicap of nine and drives the ball like Nick says he wishes he did during his time on tour, that meant working on his short game. Rather than basing his success purely on his up-and-down percentage, Nick set up a landing spot drill simply by placing one of his TeeTimeTips towels on the green. 

From there and equipped with a set of wedges from TaylorMade's expansive line-up, the challenge for Josh was to land it within the circle and on the towel as often as possible. As Nick says, something as simple as this will not only help Josh and other junior golfers develop and hone their skills, but it will also allow kids to challenge their friends, set new personal bests and get more enjoyment from their time away from the course.

Andrew Wright
Freelance News Writer

A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he decided to go freelance and now covers a variety of topics for Golf Monthly. 

Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.

As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as,, and

What's in Andy's bag?

Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)

3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus (15°)

Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)

Irons: Mizuno mp32 (4-PW)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)

Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2.5

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x