The rise of youth golf is not due to our family. Golf was not a part of our household. No one played it nor followed it extensively. Yet, when our son was 12 years old, he decided on his own to become a golfer.
He discovered the local YMCA was hosting a summer clinic that served as an introduction to the game. His participation in this youth program introduced him to skills that continue to serve him lifelong in business and as a pastime. That was the 80’s. Ron Furlong writes, “The 1980s were a turning point in golf. A handing down of the torch, if you will. A changing of the guard. More television coverage than ever also helped bolster the popularity of the game.”
Still, there were limited opportunities for young people to learn the game, or develop the skills of play. Fortunately for him, he found one program and his skills continued to develop. He played competitively into his teens. Then his passion for the game became an avenue to enhance his chosen career. Many business contacts and networking encounters have been found on the course.
RISE OF YOUTH GOLF
Today with the rise of youth golf there are increased chances for youth to learn more about the game and the positives it brings.
I recently ran across this children’s author and her idea to connect golf to the very young. She obviously sees the value golf has brought to her life and is lovingly sharing the tales (and the dog’s tails of the story) through her contribution of Charlie and Bogey.
Beyond the toddler years though, there is an even bigger community supporting the rise of youth golf. The First Tee is active in many areas. The focus of this organization is character education and teaching long-term life skills inherent in the game. Its character education curriculum helps teach junior golfers how to manage emotions, resolve conflicts, communicate, set goals and more!
“In every experience with First Tee, kids are introduced to our Nine Core Values: honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy, and judgment.”
The organization eagerly points out the way the game of golf differs from any other sport.
THE TOP 9 WAYS GOLF IS DIFFERENT FROM OTHER SPORTS
You call penalties on yourself.
You report your own score.
Your mind and the course are the opponents.
Every course is different—each has its own challenges.
It requires and promotes high principles and values.
You improve your concentration, combining power with finesse and accuracy.
It is a lifelong sport, spanning generations of people who can play.
The handicap system means everyone can play as equal.
You can play the game on your own, with others or as part of a team.
Benefiting beyond those learned lessons, socially there are other skills inherent in the learning process of golf as well. Making proper introductions. Managing emotions. Resolving conflicts. Setting up step-by-step goals. Planning for the future. Appreciating diversity.
The LPGA Leadership Academy uses the game of golf as a platform and learning tool to: Teach young women how to become better decision makers. Overcome and let go of setbacks. Take calculated risks and embrace opportunities. Develop skills to accomplish specific goals. Play their own game and find their own voice.
Stronger girls= Strong and capable women!
As a parent, I would be lacking if there wasn’t a shoutout to organizations that address the parent as a coach. Check outhttp://www.uskidsgolf.com. Here adults are reminded to monitor their personal behavior as mentors and guides, which is valuable in every activity involving our youth.
My son, once a boy, who possessed a strong sense of determination and an uncanny ability to charm grownups into his good graces, is now a fine man.