I had the pleasure of watching Rory Mcilroy and Jason Day square off in a semifinal match at the Dell World Golf Championships Match Play at the historic Austin Country Club. I made the 4 hour drive because of the venue (Austin Country Club) which is filled with history and the home of Harvey Penick. Not to mention that the top golfers in the world are squaring off in match play. For me as a golf coach it was one big learning experience.
The one thing I noticed today was how excited most of the kids were to be at the event. I saw entire families, daddy/sons, mommy/daughters, and many groups of kids running around. It was refreshing to see the excitement and passion these kids were showing. It was truly an event for all and well worth the trip.
I believe in the importance of developing a deep rooted love for the game in our children. We all know parents love golf, but does your child love the game?. Long before finding a coach or a mentor or developing skills comes the development of love for the game. I recall in my youth golfing experiences attending the Texas Open and seeing my favorite players in person and the crowds, the roars, the activities, and everything that is offered at a tour event. The instant I returned home I was on the putting green pretending and imagining myself having putts to win the Texas Open. I would recreate situations like I witnessed at the tournament and once I holed a 40 foot putt in a playoff against Calvin Peete. I will forever thank my father for those trips to the Texas Open. I grew to love the game and develop imagination and fun as I experienced the different levels of the game.
For those parents and coaches that are stuck in the competitive grind and skill development grind that seems to be more and more evident in kids 10-under take a break and attend a LPGA or PGA event. I see many kids competing week after week on kid’s tours and in some cases competing as many as 8 weeks consecutively. This can take its toll on a kid. I saw hundreds of kids today running around observing their idols and having a blast! The key in my opinion is developing the love for golf first and the rest will take care of itself.