Monday, April 16, 2012

Handle With Care: Children & Golf

"Handle With Care:  Children & Golf"
By Sean & Stef Mysel
4/16/12

Perhaps one of the greatest sights to see at our facility are parents bringing their children to the range for a taste of our great game.  You see the awkward swings and the child's amazed look once club face meets ball and goes airborne.  It's what the game needs, new blood that only cares about the fun of the game rather than smoking cigars and backing up a course.  All this changes however, when "hockey dad" takes over the course of instruction for young children.  Wonder what I mean?  Let me explain....

Yesterday we had a busy day at the range, I had six lessons over the weekend and two of them on Sunday (of note I also gave a couple quick demo lessons which yielded some revenue...high five!).  At around 1:30pm a father comes in with his son, buys a couple of large buckets and proceeds to find a suitable stall from which to swing from.  As soon as the son picks up a club, the father begins barking out instructions on how to hit the ball.  "Head still!  Back straight!  (here's my favorite) Swing the club over your head!"  After every missed swing, the father's demeanor became even more serious as he mocked his young son's attempts to hit the ball.  You could see the look of dejection on his son's face as each attempt became more frustratingly futile.  Then the father takes a prodigious slash at his ball which resulted in a 20 yard roll of the ball with a driver.

Here's where I as an instructor and lover of the game become concerned.  Of all the sports I've played (baseball, basketball, tennis, golf, ice/roller hockey) golf is one of the most technically and mentally demanding games of them all.  Golf takes years to learn and thousands of swings just to feel competent.  Anyone introducing a person to the game needs to shoot straight with people yes, but keep things upbeat and positive.  You will never hear me or any other good teacher destroy a golfer's confidence because confidence is what you need to play well and have fun.  So parents, when you feel like your son or daughter is ready and wanting to learn the game, consult your local pro.  Most of them will gladly take a few minutes from their day to show your child some basics to get them started.  Also, you can almost always find some free children's golf clinics at your local track.  Whatever you do, it's got to be fun all the time!

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