I get asked this a lot. Luckily there is a handy cheat sheet to work your people skills and build rapport with your local starter 😀
“Mistakes are part of the game. It’s how well you recover from them, that’s the mark of a great player.” – Alice Cooper
I love the fact the English language has so many subtleties. One word can have multiple meanings or a similar sounding word can mean something completely different.
I get a giggle every time I look at these.
This is a rant.
I have a nephew who happens to be a junior golfer. He is great — soft spoken, respectful of the game, respectful of his elders. A lump of clay aching to be molded into something great.
He plays with my group and sometimes brings a few other junior golfers along. I have to say some of those kids are a handful, and that is being kind.
We all want what’s best for our kids. But at what expense? You get these cocky kids that come off rather rude. Sure they are the apple of your eye but let’s tone down that attitude. Yes, they are great golfers right now but what happens when they get older and they have to compete with the older, and perhaps more seasoned kids? Will that fragile, cocky attitude still be there or will it be squashed because some other kid is better than yours?
It’s a fine line you have to walk between keeping your kid grounded and keeping them interested in pursuing golf.
Here are some of my thoughts.
- Winning is great but playing to the best of your ability is better. Evaluate their tournament play. Did they hit the green in regulation? How many putts? Analyze their game and determine where they need to improve. Leave excuses at the door, they are not a constructive analysis of their game. You want them to do better; this is where you start.
- Have your child play with older golfers. Get them used to the fact they are not the best. There will always be someone who hits the ball longer than they do. There is someone who will always scramble better than they do to save par. Get them to learn how to do that. Teach them they may know a thing or two about golf but there is always someone who knows more than they do and can execute. Learn from them.
- Playing with older golfers should also teach them to play within their game. They will be shorter off the tee but typically straighter and not in trouble. Have them use that to their advantage.
- There is a fine line between doubt and confidence. Give them confidence. If all else fails for them show them where to find their center so they can execute. Criticism should be positive.
- I always tell this to my kids. “If you can honestly say to yourself that you did your best then that is all I ask. The trick is you have to be honest with yourself when you answer that question. ” You can ask for the moon, the stars; everything in creation but the reality is your ability — Did you do your best? You didn’t do as well on this course as you hoped? Where can you improve? Better still what could you have done differently to put you in a position to do well? Learn from your mistakes. Too many times I see these Tiger parents get angry at their kid for their failure. Look they are kids. Let them learn from their mistakes. Losing is a good thing. Handling defeat and learning from it help you to become a better player. Winning all the time, you learn nothing.
- Your child may be shorter off the tee but if you teach them to scramble well around the green they can save par. So short game is key here — chipping and putting should be their salvation. This will give them confidence.
- Teach your child respect. Respect the game. Respect others. Respect their elders. I often remind my kids that I am their parent and not their equal. They owe me that respect and I expect them to afford that same humility when speaking to other adults. If I show the proper respect to your kid when they are playing I kinda expect the same respect in return. Keep still. Pick up the flag and put it back once in a while. Please don’t step on my line; excuse yourself if you did.
- Keep your goals grounded for your kid. If your kid is the youngest in their age bracket give them attainable goals. Winning is nice but staying in the middle of their bracket is also good. Learn what the older kids are doing.
- As a parent, network. Get to know the other parents and pros; even the tournament staff. You can learn a lot about what to use and avoid. Learn from their mistakes. Where you can get special deals, etc.
- Finally have fun with your kid. This is their time. They are the reason you want the best for them. Do no loose sight of this.
I have always had trouble with this.
There are too many variables in your swing. Or so I thought.
There is hope though. Consider this. Your body already knows the golf swing. So why complicate that swing and limiting it. Your swing doesn’t have to be perfect. We don’t draw pictures. We take score. Don’t complicate your swing with a long laundry list of must do’s in your swing. Keep it simple. Allow yourself one swing thought. But even simpler than that. Break down your swing into several parts. In other words there should be two things you should be thinking about — direction and distance; everything else is fluff.
Direction is in the set-up. Distance is in the swing itself. Set yourself up to succeed by pointing yourself in the right direction. Once that is set or set to the best of your ability you no longer have to worry about direction. Your shot is whatever your shot will be. Why worry about direction now? Instead focus on distance. Get the ball to the target. That should be your only concern once your have lined up to your target.
When my swing goes out the back door my fall-back position is always my set-up. My reset button if you will when all else fails. Do you have something you can call upon to ground you?
For me it’s simple. My pre-shot routine may be silly but it helps my focus and essentially sets my body to the task at hand. In less than 30 seconds (15 seconds typically) I have myself aligned to my target and the proper swing thoughts in my head; ready, swing, hit my target.
Essentially it’s this. I take a practice swing. I make sure I have the proper feeling in my swing (for me it’s to ensure I make a proper turn — I have a bad back.) Then I walk up to my ball and align myself to my target. I set myself then I simply make sure I have my swing thought (it’s “short turn.”) And then I make my swing. If I hit the ball well or not I move on to the next shot.
It’s that simple. I hit a bad shot, no sweat, I can recover. Move on.
Without a solid routine I know I won’t hit my intended target. Why? I leave too much to chance. Maybe I will hit it or maybe I won’t. I know however if I take the time to do my set-up I have a better chance of hitting the target. And confidence in your swing helps your golf game. Doubt is the killer.
One thing that stuck in my head that a semi-pro pool player (yes a pool player) told me once. If you walk up to your ball without an idea of what you want to do in your head, you already missed your shot. Take that to heart folks.
Take the time to pick a target. Once you have that target, line up yourself to your target. Set yourself, then allow yourself a single swing thought. Don’t complicate it. Keep it simple. Then swing away.
Don’t linger over the ball. A bad shot takes about the same amount of time as a good shot so why dwell over the ball. Just hit it.
Lost in Translation. Does anyone bother to proofread their work? Sometimes I wonder about being proud of your work.
Yes. I am born-again. I am a father for the fourth time (get it, four kids) with ages ranging from late teens to infant.
The wonderful thing is I get to do it all over again. The terrible thing is I get to do it ALL over again.
Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Instead that goes into the jar for Junior’s college fund (split 4-ways of course.)
So as one child steps into adulthood, college, adult decisions whilst another can barely walk, it gives me time to think. Is/was this a monumental waste of time or are they getting what I am trying to teach them?
You would think I would have written a book by now. I read other blogs of parents saying how many kids they have and that they are experts. Well I am here to tell you there is no expert out there. Kids, for the little sociopaths they are, are self-serving. You can steer them along the straight and narrow but you cannot shield them. You can only give them the background — a spine if you will — to make a decision right or wrong and to stand by that decision whatever the result.
Me being the bad guy/disciplinarian well, I like things done a certain way. I want things done when I need them to be done. Not after their video game but now. I know when to pick my fights. I know when to put my foot down. I ask them if they did their best. If they can honestly say to themselves — honestly mind you — yes I did my best then win or lose that’s all that can be asked of you. I preach this to my kids. Wonder if they listen.
So are we all doomed? I feel it sometimes but you take the good with the bad. Or as my father always says, “Plan for the worse. Hope for the best.”
You can only hope that their best is good enough to succeed in life because after all, isn’t that what we all want for our kids?