Friday, March 24, 2006

My first game with my son

I was reluctant to encourage my oldest to play golf, since it is a huge part of the bond that my father and I share. I became a golfer, and then a golf architect, because I inherited my father’s love for the game. Once I realized that Cam really wanted to play and I got over my silly worries, I was excited about teaching him the game. A brilliant man, Gene Greco, advised me to just let him tee up and hit it. Pick up if you need him to, let him walk a few holes if he wants to, but make him hit every chip and putt. What great advice.

Dad and I took Cam out to a local Florida muni for a lesson. Cam was carrying his very first set of clubs that I had bought to fit to him properly. I must say that the equipment manufacturers have created lines of cheaply price junior clubs of real quality. I think this is one group that has done its part to help promote future golfers.

My father is a good teacher, who wanted to make sure that he had a good swing before we even considered taking him out. He struggled for a while, as he made subtle correction to his grip and posture, until he proceeded to hit the ball regularly in the air with a nice swing. Before you worry about me, I have no interest in creating a competitive golfer, I just want to him to enjoy what the game offers.

He hit the ball well enough and consistent enough that we decided to play. It was a nice quiet Tuesday afternoon at the muni, and there was nobody on the tee of one of the three nines. Perfect let’s go! We went into the pro shop and said we wanted to play nine holes. At the local municipal course we were told “he’s too young to play.” He was 9. My dad said “there’s nobody out there and he hits the ball fine, besides he’s with us and we’ll pick up to keep up.” They said NO, there are too many regulars (seniors) who play at this time. I paid for a twosome in silence.

Needless to say, I stuffed Cam’s clubs in the side of my bag, and Dad and I went out as a twosome “with a caddie.” We played the first hole as a twosome and the rest he played without picking up.I can not possibly describe the joy of watching both my father and son play. It was the first round where I can not remember a single stroke of my own, but I remember every chip, putt and duff in detail. My father began the day slightly worried about holding people up, but by the middle of the round realized this was not going to be a problem.

The lesson I learned from this was there is no “right” age for kids to begin. It’s a matter of when they are ready.

2 comments:

dennis said...

Great story and very encouraging to read, though I would have to say the fact that your son was "discouraged" from playing by the pro shop is pathetic. I also look forward to the day, not all that far away, when I can play with my daughter and son, as well as my dad. My girl is 6 and my boy is 2 and I currently have some clubs for her which she begun to swing with last fall. Her personality and character seems suited for golf and as you say, I am just hoping for her (and him) to enjoy what the game offers.

Keep up the great stories and the info about courses - always a great read.

dave k said...

Ian,

Nice story and I hope you have many more opportunities to get out as a threesome. A similar story of my own if you and the readers don't mind. We were on a family vacation this past summer in the Maritimes. My wife and 2 boys along with my parents. We had some games booked including Dad and I at HL. While on PEI we played Green Gables and my son Jordan played well breaking 90 for the first time in his life. Afterwards Dad says he should join us at HL. I am hesitant, thinking it is a tough track and he may not enjoy it which could lead to some trouble. You know how 14 year olds can be at times. Anyway Dad insists and I am sure glad he did. We had a great day, in a perfect setting and I can only hope he remembers it as much as I will.

Thanks, Dave