December 15, 2022
Grooming of a Young Golfer - Charlie Woods
I am very much looking forward to this weekend's PNC Parent Child tournament in Florida. This will be the second time that we get to see Tiger Woods partner with young son, Charlie. Last year, we witness some outstanding play from the then 12 year old, 4 ft. 8 in. golf prodigy. This year he is one year older, has added muscle and grown five inches. It is reported that his driver speed has now reached 117 mph, which is above the PGA Tour average.
Last year the internet and some experts were ablaze with how good Charlie was and that he was better than Tiger at that age, had a better swing, and would be surpassing his father's achievements. WHOA!!! STOP!!! This is a 13 year old young man with a lifetime in front of him. We don't know what drives him or his passion. Having a good swing and the DNA from the greatest golfer in the world doesn't guarantee success, but it does give you a great head start. A lot of will be happen in the next five years that will really tell you his true calling.
My golf journey started at 7 when my Dad joined a country club. That was when I learned to play. There were many other kids golfing, so it was fun. I played all other sports, except football, and was pretty good at all of them. But by fourteen I saw that I needed to concentrate on what I liked the best and I choose golf. My parents supported my efforts in golf and my mother drove me all over southern California to play in junior golf tournaments. I loved the competition and although I didn't win when I was younger, I won a good share of second and third place trophies. There was always someone better, which made me want to practice more and get better. That time came when I was the older, stronger, and a more experienced golfer. I broke through when I was 16 and won more when I became 17.
I bring this up to show my passion for the game. I really enjoyed the game, the competition, and the environment. My parent's didn't make me do this. It was my decision and I was supported in my quest. They didn't think I would be the next Arnold Palmer or get anything for my efforts. But as it turned out it was very beneficial, because it resulted in a scholarship to play golf and get a degree from the University of Southern California. As I grew up, there was always someone better. They were older, stronger, and just better. But a strange thing happened; the good players at 14 weren't as good at 16 or they weren't there? The kids that were pushed by their parents quit when they could or their love for what they were doing wasn't strong enough to work harder when the competition got stronger.
You can't predict success. A good friend of mine was so good that when he was 16 he had sponsors wanting to put him on tour when he was old enough. He got a golf scholarship to a prestigious university, but never cracked the starting lineup. Another friend won almost everything in southern California and was a "can't miss" when he went to college, but he too couldn't hack it at the next level.
Charlie Woods has everything going for him: supportive parents, ideal learning environment, best instruction, great golfing DNA, and a father in Tiger that knows what it takes to be great at something. Now does Charlie want to really do this? That is the question. If he is forced to do this, then there is no chance. But from what we have heard, this is something that young Charlie really enjoys and wants badly. If that's the case, then it will be a treat to watch his maturation as a person and a golfer as he tries to be the best that he can be. Potential and expectations are difficult to fulfill. He will be under a microscope and analyzed at every turn. This is where Tiger needs to give his best advice. Earl Woods programed Tiger to withstand this type of scrutiny. Tiger needs to instill the same kind of armor around Charlie. Hopefully Charlie will have fun, become a balanced happy person and will enjoy this challenge. That result would be the best a parent should hope for.