With all of the options available for sports—soccer, basketball, swimming, gymnastics, volleyball, ice skating, track, cross country—the question “why golf?” may surely come up as kids choose their activities. I know it did for me. As a high school freshman, I begged my dad to let me go out for the swim team instead of golf. I was looking for a “real sport” I told him.
My dad’s response went something like this: “You want to go out for a real sport like swimming? Really? What are you going to do with swimming in the future . . . go on a date with someone and say “hey, baby, let’s swim around this lake?’ No. You’re going to play golf. You’re going to pick a lifetime sport.” He wasn’t just pushing golf so I could go on dates, but I’m so glad he did make that point. He was right. Golf turned out to be a great social asset for me in many areas of my life. (Heck, I taught my husband how to play golf while we were dating.) Now, not only do my husband and I play golf together, we also play with my mom and dad. That’s a little more fun than all of us jumping in a lake for a swim.
True, I could’ve gone out for swimming and learned how to play golf later in life. But the truth is, the older we get the less time we have to devote to learning something as complex and time-consuming as golf. A friend of mine has four kids—all of them involved in about a million activities (sadly, none golf, but I’m working on it). Her husband’s passion is golf. Unfortunately, she doesn’t play and simply doesn’t have the time to learn it, much less get comfortable enough to really play the game. Another friend of mine is a pharmaceutical rep whose company often asks her to play on outings. Not only are these chances to play gorgeous courses and get away from the office, they’re also great networking opportunities. But guess what? My friend was a swimmer in high school and doesn’t play golf.
The bottom line is, golf is a social, lifetime sport that offers countless chances for adults to network and spend time with friends, partners and family. It helps to know the game—the rules, clubs, and mechanics of the sport—coming into adulthood instead of picking it up and trying to squeeze it in between work, family and other responsibilities.
As you and your child are considering activities, give the many benefits of junior golf a thought:
BREEZING THROUGH THE EARLY STAGES
It’s much easier to make golf mistakes and learn from them as a child than as an adult. Golf is fun but can be challenging at the start. If people start playing as kids, they work through that “awkward golfer” phase much faster than they would as an adult.
THE MORAL LESSONS
When you expose your kids to golf, you’re exposing them to valuable lessons in honesty, respect and integrity. Yes, you’re teaching them a game, but you’re also teaching them the rules of life.
PATIENCE AND PERSEVERANCE
Like any game, golf can be frustrating, but by learning to play it, your child will pick up good character traits and learn what dedication to a sport can deliver. Unlike other sports that can easily wind a kid up, golf encourages taking time to be thoughtful and steady. Instead of just doing, young golfers learn to think and get to know themselves both inside and out.
AN INVESTMENT IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP
Teaching your kid golf is an investment in your present and future relationship with her. Not all sports offer you the chance to actually get out there and play the game with your children for years to come. Even if they don’t realize it now, someday they’ll look back and thank you for the exposure to the game and the time you spent with them. They’ll also be the ones setting up a tee time so you can enjoy a day together on the course, which, I have to say, is so much better than swimming around a lake.