You’re probably wondering why there is plural on junior golfer on the title above. I do have 2 boys – just turning 14 and 15 years old playing golf competitively at junior level as well as “just-starting” amateur level. Each year, they have a target toward their handicap. Hopefully, by the end of this year, the young one is targetting for handicap 6 while the older one aiming for a solid scratch or plus. With this COVID-19, it’s a challenging goal but still doable.
Dreams without goals are just dreams.Denzel Washington
Like most of the kids, if you ask them what their ultimate dream of golf activity that they take is, they probably say turning pro. Now, we always said to them lets break this dream into mini-goals such as aiming break 100, break 90, break 80, break 70, getting into an elite player at club level, getting the club scholarship, studying and finishing high school, pursuing social/work ethic/entrepreneur skills, pursuing US College scholarship and completing the degree, and then by that time if it’s good enough then by all mean go for pursuing to turn into a tour player.
The boys have been playing competitively since 2013 from 9 holes pup level, 18 holes pup level, 18 holes club level, 18 holes junior comp, 36 holes junior comp, 72 holes comp and amateur level. Yes! It’s been a long ride full with high and lots of low moments.
Below are the things that keep us insane not just when it’s low moment but high moments as well. Before I am wring this article, I used to have this list on my phone as a reminder. But now, I can just look and scroll through this article 🙂
Focus on Process not Result
As golf is an individual sport, the percentage of winning is quite low. As the level progress continued from junior or club level to amateur level, the victory is more even lower. If the focus is on the result, there will be a lot of disappointment.
We pick up this tip from my son’s coach as tried to put into a context as a player. But this also relevant to anyone including us as a parent. We now tend to focus on the process by creating them from beginning to the end especially for the tournament and practice such as checking the golf stuff, having a lot of sleep, waking up and exercising, breakfast/lunch properly, driving to tournament on-time, registration and practice, play, break, do the score and review – what went well, what needs to be improved and how to improve it.
Did the player miss any process? Did we as a parent miss any process? Is there any new process to added-in? Is there any process to be removed? Learn to adapt quickly is a key because sometimes one of the processes can not be executed for an unknown reason so it requires to make some quick adjustment. Record this process.
Most junior golfers that we’ve spoken to they are focusing on turning into a professional player. However, we always encourage the boys to focus on academic as equally important as golf.
When we started this journey couple of years ago. We just want them to play as truly and respect golfer with honesty and have good manners toward to junior players, member players, coaches, other parents, club staffs and club members as well treat skills in any sports such as the taste of a lot of failures then bounced back and friendships.
Then a few years back, we met with one of the young-man golfers that we knew his parent quite well and he just came back from the United States and by that time he was in the senior year of his college. He played with one of the boys. At the club table after the game, he shared his experience about the US college golf scholarship and his study. He said to the boys is worth pursuing and experiencing it. He said it doesn’t have to be super good at golf and super good at academic – just within reason obviously.
From that on, we encourage the boys to pursue similar pathway – strong in both golf and study.
School, Study, Golf and Leisure
We always try to balance between these school, study, golf and leisure. We put together a schedule and have a separate schedule for each such as non-summer school time, non-summer holiday time, summer school time, non-summer holiday time. It is challenging to keep this routine and like anything else keeps trying 🙂
We ask the boys to be apart of this and if it needs to be reviewed, then we will review. Always, keep adapting and monitoring is the key.
Practice Purpose Routine
In golf, the spending time for the lesson is pretty low – let say maybe 30 minutes a week or event forth night or month. Meaning that the player has a lot of time practising its own.
On the practice day, we always to encourage the boys to look at what area they need to be fixed. Once they did that, then they do weekly practice purpose routine, and they need to complete them if not they need to complete next following week. Once complete, it progresses to the next level. We create this purpose routine with different level up to a few months, for instance, and then ask them to redo again once it completed. The good thing about this is that it keeps them challenging; otherwise, practice with one thing only it may jeopardise other part of the game.
We used to do week in and week out for playing tournament – minimum is once a week and sometimes twice a week.
As they are getting older and more mature, we decided to pick and choose the big tournament only and occasionally play at the club like a monthly medal or club champion. It’s good in such a way that they have something to look forward so they will practice hard leading up the big game. Otherwise, if not playing at their best during the normal comp, the comp becomes a normal game and it’s not a competition anymore.
Also, once they finish the game, we record and analyse every single round that they play – how many FIR, how many GIR, how many putts, how many putts per GIR, what the miss, what the gain and miss, what the highlight, what could do better and how to fix it.
All golf coaches are excellent. The main thing is that the boys are convertible and the coach always sees them and ask how they play at the range, car park, on the course or inside the club. We met the coach at the club and since then we stick with for 5-6 years.
We only change a personal coach two times. The first time, we had to change due the coach was left from our club. The second time after 5-6 years due to the boys tried without a coach for almost a year, the boys decided to level up their game, and moved to a new coach.
If you have reached the end of this article, congratulation. Hopefully, we have been able to shed some light on keeping you sanity check as a parent dealing with junior golfers or any sport who want to become an elite player.
We write this in such a way that this is not a fix article. Like in this journey, we learn as we go and we re-write some parts so please keep pinging with this article.
We also would love to hear about how you deal with situation and what problems you might be facing. Please feel free to leave us a comment below this article and let us know if you have any questions that we can answer! Thanks again!
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