Do you have a son or daughter in junior golf, and are you at the crux of trying to figure out how to get them the right clubs?
Like buying clubs for yourself, getting clubs for kids can be confusing. There are a ton of brands out there, and while dipping your toes in the junior game can mean being tempted to go the inexpensive route via Amazon or one of many online warehouse sites, there is only one choice I’ve found that’s fool-proof: US Kids Golf.
US Kids Golf makes clubs that are basically full-quality men’s or women’s clubs, but child-size, and the proof is in the details.
Founder Dan Van Horn started US Kids Golf in 1996 after witnessing his own five- and eight-year-old sons having issues with “Junior clubs” that were too heavy to play comfortably. So, he developed the company’s flagship Ultralight line.
25% lighter than traditional junior clubs, his initial foray into junior equipment provided an option that was more comfortable for juniors to game, allowing them to swing faster and stay on plane.
Since then, the company has evolved to offer numerous models of golf clubs (still led by the Ultralight line) in eleven different sizes, fitting players by height and skill level rather than by age.
USKG club models:
- Baby’s First Club: 18″ putter for toddlers
- Yard Club: Learning and development, available for kids 36″ to 66″ tall
- Ultralight: Beginner to intermediate level, available for kids 39″ to 69″ tall
- Tour Series 3 & Series 5: Intermediate to advanced level, available for kids 51″ to 69″ tall
- epTour: Advanced to elite players, available for kids 51″ to 69″ tall (right-handed only and very expensive!)
- Ultralight for Women: Full-quality clubs, but lighter in weight designed to help women 60″ to 66″ tall develop swing speed and hit straighter, longer shots
My son, Charlie, who turned six this month, is already on his FOURTH SET of golf clubs including three other less expensive, and incredibly lower-quality brands, and – thank God – I anticipate this set to be his last until he outgrows them.
What happens then? Well, I will buy him the next size up: Ultralight clubs for kids 51″ – 54″ tall. And why wouldn’t I? US Kids Golf’s clubs are far superior to anything else we’ve tried, and if I’m trying to get my son hooked on the game then I should get him gear that will give him the best opportunity to feel good about it.
Just over four feet tall, Charlie’s now using US Kids’ UL480S’s (he’s a southpaw) for 48″-51″ tall (4′ to 4’3″) kids. These are great-looking, solidly-made golf clubs, including a Longview putter (named for Longview Golf & Family Club in the Pinehurst area of North Carolina), a 56-degree wedge, pitching wedge, 6-iron, 8-iron, driver and 3-wood (aka “mini-driver,” as Charlie refers to it).
Throughout his summer Tuesday Junior Golf sessions with Coach Paul Mindel and the team at North Hills Country Club, Charlie gravitates toward the clubs I’d expect him to: The driver, 8-iron and pitching wedge. The driver obviously goes the farthest and is fun off the tee, the 8-iron is easy to hit and gets decent distance and the pitching wedge gets high up in the air while providing some yardage. It’s getting the ball airborne that gets him excited about shots, so I tend to steer him that direction.
Having more clubs than any of his previous sets have offered is teaching him about club selection and letting him learn about loft and distance potential. It’s fun for me to see him figuring these things out and telling me what he thinks is the right club to hit in certain situations (I otherwise provide him almost no direction; at his age (in his third year of junior golf), the most important thing is that he has fun and I leave the coaching to the coaches), and so far he’s been making pretty good choices.
I tend to steer him away from the mini-driver since he can’t tee it up, and I know hitting fairway woods is no cup of tea. In a lot of ways, I feel like being a good steward of his golf development relies on me nudging him toward where he’ll have the best opportunities for success, and of course finding ways to downplay the shots he doesn’t like. Other than that, I’ll talk only about his good shots and then bring him to lunch with his buddies afterwards to reinforce how incredible golf days are.
Even if Charlie never gets better than being a high-single-digit-handicapper like his old man, all I care about is that he enjoys the sport and that we can [hopefully] enjoy playing together for many decades to come. If I have to spend a little extra to get him quality clubs that will help promote that, I’m happy to do it.
While US Kids Golf clubs can be purchased with nice junior-sized bags, we forewent that option since I’d already ordered Charlie one of Vessel’s new Junior Stand bags. I’ll be writing more about that soon, but whoa… yeah, it’s really sweet.
Full review of the new Vessel Junior Bag coming soon
You can see what USKG’s bags look like in this photo (on the far left (for 48″-51″ heights) and far right (for 51″-54″ heights)), and you will notice in private club programs that more junior players use US Kids Golf clubs than any other brands – in fact, four of the six kids in Charlie’s standard “3-holer” grouping at North Hills play Ultralights.
What impresses me most, though, about US Kids Golf is what I mentioned above: They are high-quality golf clubs with tweaks intentionally designed for kids.
This means your son or daughter shouldn’t bottom out in their swing as easily because they’re weighted for children; they feature gapping that promotes loft (including an 8-iron, PW and 56-degree wedge that are all easy for kids to get airborne), won’t rust in 1-2 years (like two of Charlie’s old sets already have) and are manufactured by an organization that’s actively doing great things to promote the game for our next generation.
I spent over $500 on inferior junior clubs before pulling the trigger on US Kids Golf clubs for my son. Don’t make that same mistake. If you want your son or daughter to grow a love for golf at a young age, get them good golf clubs they can develop with.
With premium-level quality, ideal gapping (it was not fun when the coaches would tell the kids to “grab their wedges” and the closest Charlie had was a 7-iron) and beautiful aesthetics, US Kids Golf clubs can pass down through generations and will guarantee your kids’ development won’t be held back on account of having bad equipment.
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