I like playing golf with my son for a range of reasons. It is a chance to do something together rather than stand on the side and watch. It is a true metaphor for life in sports. The main reason is it allows my son and I to be present in each other’s lives.
On Tuesday evening my daughter goes to gymnastics. This means my son and I have an hour to kill. There is a golf driving range up the road, and we go there. We have maybe had five lessons over three years, but the ground rules between us are clear. We are not doing this to be good. This is the equivalent of my son and I going out for a beer. It is just the two of us doing something together. The two of us hit balls as far as we can. Play games such as nearest the flag. There is a virtual golf tracker there which allows silly games as well as recreating courses. I try to keep my teaching nature in the bag as, most importantly, we spend time together, laughing at each other’s flaws, and being equals. I am not brilliant or even good. I am happy for my son to see that. I am also glad for him to see how we have both gotten better over the months. We can go round a par 3 course without embarrassing ourselves. We then go to the clubhouse for a packet of crisps, a coke, and a chat. As just due to age, we keep it to that these are appropriate for his driver, and the frustration is limited. I give him a shot or two a hole, and it is a fair match.
Why I Like Playing Golf With My Son
Well, it is one of the few activities you and your child can do together with some element of competition. Most sports are age-specific. You stand on the sidelines as someone else coaches your child, and they play with other children. Bike rides and walks are non-competitive, and either you or your child compromises how fast or far you want to go. With golf and the handicap system, you can both do the same course, and use different tee boxes, so it is less far for them, and for every hole, you can give them a two-shot head start. This means that every 10 minutes, it is a new competition. If one of the sides is winning too often, change the handicap, so three shots are on the next hole. This part of golf means that you are two equals in a way that is not possible in many other things. At the end of every round, you both have great shots to boast about and bad shots to laugh at. We buy lots of cheap balls. If one gets lost, we drop another. We turn a blind eye to a swing and miss. We do not write down our scores, and sometimes, if it is shocking, we pick the ball up and go to the next hole. If there is an interesting shot, we drop another ball and play the shot again. Here we have a detailed article on the importance of doing things with your children.
Isn’t Golf Quite Formal?
This does not mean that we overlook the fundamental rules of etiquette that go with golf. Once you realize that it is not a bastion of wealth and exclusiveness at most clubs but rather, at most, a friendly pub with somewhere to walk around next to it, you will relax. Many of the rules of golf are basic manners of politeness and fairness. You can buy a child’s set of clubs second hand for about $20, and a round of 9 holes at the local municipal golf course is less than a trip to the cinema. It is possible to spend a fortune, and some of the more exclusive clubs are less than welcoming. However, many clubs like to see children, often let them join very cheaply, and if you respect rules like wearing a t-shirt with a collar, be polite and do not charge around the clubhouse like it is a soft play are delightful. It is an excellent way for children to interact with adults they do not know in a semi-formal setting.
What Lessons Can Be Learned From Golf?
Patience and resilience. Golf is a game you will never perfect. Also, if you start getting too confident, it will come back to bite you. When playing with other people, you need to learn to take the rough with the smooth publicly. To outwardly smile when inside, you might be gutted. To congratulate your opponent on a great game or shot. All the time on the round, you need to think of other people. Are they about to hit the ball? Who goes first each time? It also means that you can talk. Walking along the fairway looking for the balls allows us to chat. And unplanned chats are often the most rewarding. We talk more formally here about talking to your child about awkward topics but spending two hours walking around a golf course has the perfect environment. Distractions, outside and not looking at each other face to face.
So, do not expect my son or I to enter any competitions or even officially join a club any time soon. I hope as he gets older, he will go out with his friends without me, and when he moves into adulthood, he will be good enough to join in many social rounds. But do expect it to be regularly in our diaries, I hope long after he has left home, and by that point, he might have to start giving me a few shots a hole!