School is officially out, which means Black Butte Ranch will soon be teeming with families. Why not use this summer and Black Butte Ranch’s three-day junior golf camps to get the kids going in a game that can be enjoyed for a lifetime?

From age 8 to 80 anyone can fall in love with golf. Really, there is no other game quite like it in that way. This, of course, is what attracts so many of us to this game, even though it seems to take MORE than a lifetime to master.

But golf is made easier when a player picks up the game at a young age, which is why Black Butte Ranch puts so much emphasis on its three-day junior golf camps. The first camp begins Monday, with three-day camps scheduled for every week through August.

Why get a child involved in golf?

According to a 2011 report by the World Golf Foundation and Golf 20/20, golf has an almost endless list of health and wellness benefits, including:

  • Calories burned:

    • playing 18 holes and riding = 1,300

    • playing 18 holes, walking and using a pull cart = 1,500

    • playing 18 holes, walking and carrying your clubs = 2,000

  • A walked 18-hole round = 5 mile walk and meets the 10,000 steps per day guideline for exercise recommended by most medical and clinical physicians.

  • Since walking is biomechanically more efficient than running, walking an 18-hole round of golf is roughly equivalent to a 3.5 to 4 mile run.

  • Exercise intensity and energy cost of playing 9 holes = 40 minutes of lawn mowing for adult men.

  • Walking three 18-hole rounds per week provides enough exercise for weight maintenance for all ages.

For children, the range of benefits of playing golf can be even greater.

“Golf teaches you a lot about life," said golf great Annika Sorenstam in this Los Angeles Times story. "Like any other sport it teaches you muscle control, and if you walk a golf course it's about five miles, so that's good exercise. But it also teaches you about patience, being focused, determination, and how to listen to instructions."

In addition, golf can help instill a sense of honesty (what other sport makes its participants police themselves?), etiquette and discipline. These are all valuable lessons that a child will use for a lifetime.

The First Tee Program — which adheres to its nine core values of honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment — made some interesting findings of its own when surveying its young participants. The kids in its program showed a boost in academic confidence, social skills and appreciation in diversity.

Yes, it turns out golf is a healthy activity for children. And Black Butte Ranch’s staff of golf professionals can help make a junior golfer a better player, whether a beginner or a bit more seasoned.

Black Butte Ranch’s three-day camps, held every Monday through Wednesday through August (June 15-17, June 22-24, June 29-July 1, July 6-8, July 13-15, July 20-22, July 27-29, Aug. 3-5, Aug. 10-12, Aug. 17-19, Aug. 24-26), are a great place for kids to sharpen all those skills this summer. The Ranch tailors instruction to the age and abilities of each student, with a 1½-hour program for kids age 6 to 9 and a 2½-hour program for kids age 10 to 17.

Each class size is limited to 15 golfers, which allows for plenty of attention from Black Butte Ranch’s staff of golf professionals.

For more information on how to take a lesson from any of our Black Butte Ranch instructors, visit our lessons page or call 541-595-1294 to sign up. The link also includes a calendar of all of Black Butte Ranch’s golf schools, clinics and camps.