Junior Golf Lessons
As a parent, you want the very best for your children. If you are a golfer, then I would think you would want to introduce your son or daughter to the game of golf. I personally can't think of a better game for a young child to become involved with. Golf is a game for a lifetime and teaches discipline, competitiveness, friendship, hard work, and playing by the rules.
As a PGA golf professional, I have taught many juniors. I am proud of the young individuals and their accomplishments, but more so I am proud of the fine adults that they have become. It was never my objective to make them a PGA or LPGA Tour star, but to make them the best player that they could become and to enjoy the game of golf. If their aspirations and incentive pushed them to professional pursuit, I was there to give all I could for them to reach their goals. The choice and motivation was theirs.
Recently at my home course in Sedona, we have had two junior tournaments. Each had about 100 players ranging from 5 to 17 years of age. Most were well-trained in the fundamentals of the game and had custom fitted junior golf clubs to match their age and physique. Parents were allowed to caddie for their child up to the age of 13. I was very impressed with the demeanor and skill that many of them exhibited. What I liked best was that most were enjoying what they were doing.
I first started to play golf at age 7 at Recreation Park Golf Course in Long Beach, California. I was one of 60 or more kids learning golf for the first time. Harry McCarthy was a young assistant golf pro at Rec Park, who conducted the clinic which was my first lesson. Twenty five years later, I introduced myself as one of those clueless kids that he taught. You never know who you will influence in your life. We had four one hour group lessons and then got to play the Rec Park par 31 nine hole course once a week for the rest of the summer. My first nine hole score was 63. I kept only one trophy from my junior golf days and that was from winning the 6th flight in the Long Beach City Junior Tournament in my first year.
When my family moved to southern California from Brooklyn, New York, my father joined a country club. That was where I spent my weekends. Fortunately there were around 30 to 40 other kids there swimming and playing golf. I didn't realize how lucky I was. I played every sport that I could. Was an all-star center fielder in Little League, played basketball, swam, and played water polo, basketball and golf in high school. But golf was my main focus and I was fortunate to be good enough to get a golf scholarship to USC.
When I watched the kids play last month, I was reminded of my junior golf experience. I had a wonderful mother that would bring me to the golf course and to tournaments. A group of mothers alternated bringing their sons to tournaments all over southern California. I loved competing, but I was never pushed or put pressure on to win at all costs. Looking back I saw some parents pushing too hard and being harsh in their criticism of their young child. Those soon quit and I didn't see them again.
My advice to parents that want their child to be a successful golfer is to give them all the support they need to succeed. But be sure this is what your child wants and is not pressured into something they don't have a passion for. Next get professional instruction. Interview the instructor to know his or her philosophy and strategy. A poor professional can ruin a student just like an overbearing parent. Then let the expert do their job guiding them steadily towards their goal. The parents' job is to lend love and support. The goal is for your child a love what they are doing and have fun doing it. If they win a tournament, get a scholarship or become the next Collin Morikawa that would be wonderful. However, if they acquire an appreciation for the game and learn the life lessons that golf teaches, then you will have succeeded as a parent. Remember it's your child's life.