"I just love hanging out with good company on a great, fun golf course." Rich Eisen
Share your hobby! Especially with your grandchildren--what could be better!
In my blog, I've stressed time and time again to share what you love with your grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Everything from camping, to cooking, to hobbies such as quilting. It occurred to me recently that my husband shares his love of golf with his grandchildren, so it was certainly appropriate that I ask him to write this week's blog. And wonder of wonders, it's Masters (golf) weekend!
"One of the greatest pleasures I have in life is playing golf with my oldest grandson. My experience playing with young, enthusiastic kids began with my youngest son. He became a competitive golfer during his middle school years, and it was always fun to watch him play. But what was even more enjoyable was playing golf with him. Someone had to take him to play golf, so he could practice, and that someone was ME! What I discovered is that you are not competing with each other, but discussing the finer points of the game. And what I remember the most about golf time with my son were the conversations we had in the golf cart and on the course. We continued that all through high school, and I really missed it once he was off to college.
"Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening--and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented." Arnold Palmer
So fast forward to the birth of my grandson. I had to wait six or seven years to take him out on the golf course, but it came to pass. He was always busy playing soccer, baseball and basketball, but I knew I had to get him on the golf course, and I wanted to be his first coach. Hitting the greens is low-impact exercise for me, and it allows me to spend quality time with him. When you're out on the golf course with your grandson, you can ask him questions or talk serious issues. It can build a sense of loving trust and enhance the relationship. The two of you are not competing on the same level--you are teaching and coaching the game at THEIR level. It's really relaxing for me, it's really fun, and I get a kick out of playing with my grandson. And I just thoroughly enjoy the conversations we have.
"Success in golf depends less on strength of body than upon strength of mind and character." Arnold Palmer
In starting out, it is not advisable to book a tee time on a weekend morning, or at least not if you plan to go to a golf course that is booked by many other golfers. Find time on a weekday afternoon when the course is less busy--that helps with your sanity. You have to have patience teaching a young person how to play golf, and you sure don't need someone rushing you--even though most golfers understand and appreciate what you are doing. Trust me, there's nothing fun about watching your grandson hit four consecutive shots in the pond while some cranky golfer stands with his hands on his hips on the fairway. I'm a firm believer that kids need to have a general respect for pace of play even at a young age, but you're setting yourself up for disaster if you don't allow for the occasional delay.
Part of the fun of golf for kids is the equipment that comes with it--from ball markers, tees, the sleeve of balls, and a towel. All with an A&M logo! (Okay, okay...whatever would be their favorite motif or logo--ours happens to be A&M.) And of course you need a set of starter clubs. And good luck with that if your grandson is left-handed. Of course we also bought an Aggie hat and shirt. For some reason my grandson became really concerned about his shirt--was it really a golf shirt or a tennis shirt? Believe me--he was ready and dressed to play golf, and he had all the tools he needed--until he began to watch golf commercials on TV.
"The only time my prayers are never answered is on the golf course." Billy Graham
As a golfer, you may be a walker because you feel like that's the way the game should be played. But a golf cart to kids is like a cross country ride on a small jeep. Rent the golf cart, at least occasionally, as it is conducive for having some deep conversations on the course--such as the design of the houses on the golf course, why the 7th grade A-team in basketball is so much taller that the B-team, the endless drama often imposed by younger sisters, and other important topics. It also cuts down on fatigue that could occur when walking and having to carry a bag. I have to share that this can create a problem as well. Just this week, my grandson competed in his first tournament. No golf cart allowed. My grandson had never walked a course before. It was two days before the tournament. Quick trip to a golf course--late in the evening of course. We had to walk nine holes of golf carrying a bag--even me. And all of a sudden (for my grandson), it appears golf is not as much fun as it used to be. But he got his second wind, and came through with flying colors. When I asked what he learned after walking nine holes? "I am tired, and I am going to see how many clubs I can do without." Good thinking!
There is nothing noble about forcing your kid to play the same yardage as you. At the beginning I would have Ryan drop a ball several yards in front of the red tee. It makes the course manageable for a youngster, and allows them to experience at least some positive reinforcement before they discover how miserable this game can be. Later he decided he wanted to tee off from the red tees. By 7th grade he was teeing off from the white tees--same as me. Then there were the times he just had to hit a ball OVER the pond--again and again. But he eventually started to get the ball over those ponds--proud moments indeed.
Don't forget to teach the basic decorum of golf. Everything from when it is your turn to hit, not talking while someone else is hitting, repair the ground you play on. And then there are kid-friendly rules: pretend you're a gardener when raking out the sand traps, stop by the streams and ponds to explore, enjoy the wildlife you encounter on the course. Just remember you want to be careful what you say because you don't want them to think this game is really very strict--IT IS--but it does not have to be to a young kid.
"The object of golf is not just to win. It is to play like a gentleman, and win." Phil Mickelson
I would encourage all grandparents who are golfers to share the game with their grandkids. My oldest grandson competed in his first tourney this week, and what a tremendous amount of enjoyment and satisfaction for me. And yesterday I bought a starter set of clubs for my youngest grandson--he's four. I can't wait! In the words of Yogi Berra: 'I enjoy now doing what I do...playing golf, relaxing a little, enjoying life.' I would only add--enjoying life with my grandchildren!"
A special thank you to my husband for writing this week's blog about sharing his hobby with his grandkids!
Please write about your experiences sharing your hobby with your kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews. I love to hear, and I always share.
Happy spring! Until next week!
Retired school teacher and now full time grandmother sharing ideas and looking for new ones about grandparenting!