Kids swing into action at Ambleside golf summer camp

Fun games on the green teach players to respect their peers

This is a serious question for all you parents out there: would you be interested in a summer camp that encouraged your child to take turns and be patient, respectful, calm, and quiet?

If those are life skills your kids could use, then you might have a look at a summer golf camp. West Vancouver District runs golf camps for players of all skill levels from age four all the way up to age 16, with campers in small groups swinging into action on the par 3 course at Ambleside Park.

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While the camps are obviously built around fun activities and golf-related skill, a theme underlying the instruction is the etiquette needed to be a good playing partner out on the course.

“The rules foster an atmosphere of respect for the people that you’re doing the sport with,” said Alex Doucette, the golf operations manager for Gleneagles, Ambleside and Bowen Island golf courses. “It teaches you some general life skills just by learning how the game is played and learning how we interact with each other while we’re playing it.”

It is still, however, very much a kids camp – there won’t be any classroom sessions dissecting the PGA rulebook.

“We’re certainly not teaching them how to correctly drop out of a lateral hazard,” said Doucette with a laugh. “It’s a lot of fun games and activities that are heavily golf related but not strict golf instructions. … That’s not really what’s best for them. It all comes back to golf – it is a golf summer camp – but they’re going to play some games where they get to run around a bit, they learn a lot of physical literacy, how to use their bodies, some general co-ordination stuff.”

Players of any skill level are welcome for the day camps, and the only equipment needed is a water bottle – the camp supplies all the clubs and balls needed to play the game.

A golf camp provides an interesting alternative to other summer recreations as there’s a lot of outdoor fun and play but baked into it is that emphasis on etiquette.

“Golf is turn-based – when it’s someone else’s turn to do whatever activity it is, that means you are standing back at a safe distance, quietly allowing them the space to perform the task,” said Doucette. “Golf camps are good that way. It’s part of the atmosphere of the sport, it’s part of the atmosphere of the camps. We’re respecting the people that we’re playing or practicing with. A lot of that is making sure that we’re being safe around each other and giving each other space and quiet when it’s necessary. But there’s also time to have little competitions, compete with each other and have a lot of fun.”

Learning golf at a young age can also translate into a lifelong sport, said Doucette.

“If you learn as a kid and pick it up again when you’re 25, you’ll have all of those underlying skills developed,” he said. “You can take that into your 20s, 30s, 40s, all the way up to 80s or 90s. … Golf you can legitimately play your entire life. It’s just a good sport to get involved with.”

Click here for more information or to register.

This story originally appeared in the North Shore News Summer Camps special section, which highlights local summer camps for kids.

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