Long Term Player Development

The Long-Term Player Development (LTPD) guide was developed by Golf Canada in partnership with the PGA of Canada and Sport Canada.  The LTPD guide - or "framework” - is meant to serve as a systemic approach to maximize a participant's potential and involvement, as they evolve through the sport of golf. This framework is based on scientifically proven growth and development principles which define key benchmarks that the participant needs to achieve at each level.

Tailoring a child's sports development program to suit basic principles of growth and maturation, especially during the 'critical' early years of their development, enables him or her to:

  • Reach full potential
  • Increase lifelong participation in golf and other physical activities

The LTPD model is split into stages in which a player will move from simple to more complex skills and from general to golf related skills. For example, a beginner may start by learning basic swinging actions. Once these have been mastered, he / she will progress onto more advanced skills.

This framework sets out recommended training sequences and skills developments for the participant from the Active Start stage (6 and under) to the Active for Life Stage (adult recreational). It addresses the physical, mental, emotional and technical needs of the athlete as they pass through each stage of development.

What will this mean for your child?

During your child's first few years of golf, the emphasis will be on physical literacy. Time should be spent learning the ABC's of athleticism (Agility, Balance, Coordination and Speed) to teach them how to control his / her own bodies. For this reason, your child may take part in exercises that do not look relevant to golf, but are supporting their development. Games and other sports will teach your child to throw the ball (basic hitting actions), catch it (hand-eye coordination), and run properly. At each stage the child will be trained in the optimal systems and programs to maximize his / her potential as a golfer and as a long-term participant in sport.

What does this have to do with golf?

Golf Canada is looking to provide children with all the skills needed to take part in physical activity throughout their lifetime. We are looking further into the future than teaching the skills to win games or tournaments tomorrow if it may have a detrimental effect on them taking part at a later age.

It is thought that taking part in golf-specific training too early can lead to an early drop-out rate, create muscle imbalances and also neglect teaching the fundamental skills needed for most sports. In fact, research shows that early specialization in most late maturing sports results in these outcomes.

Research has also shown that it is during childhood that people are best at learning physical skills. For this reason we are advising coaches and parents to teach transferable skills first that will allow your child to become proficient in a number of different sports and therefore increase their chances of being physically active throughout their lifetime.