I didn’t know it at the time (I was only 10) but the day the old golf pro at Cow Glen Golf Club near Glasgow died, and his stock of old golf clubs were thrown out, would prove be the start of the amazing odyssey that has been my life. A life dominated by chasing a little white ball around the world. The friends I have met, the money I have made and the lifestyle I have enjoyed all link back to that old pro!
My uncle Forbes, whom I happened to be visiting, sorted through 60 years worth of old clubs, balls and rubbish the old pro had accumulated in his tiny little pro shop, and from it he rescued a handful of hickory-shafted clubs, which were cut down and sent back with me.
My parents didn’t play golf so I started hitting balls on my own on a playing field. Soon after I persuaded my parents to sign me up to a club as a junior member.
For the next 8 years I spent every waking hour, other than school, at Llilleshall Golf Club, and later Shifinal Golf Club. The handful of kids I played with there are still my best friends today, even though I subsequently moved 4,000 miles away.
The knowledge I gained about life and business on those fairways surpassed anything I ever learned in school, although my golf also got me a full scholarship to a US college.
Make no mistake about it, getting your kids involved in golf will be one of the greatest and most valuable gifts you will ever give them!
I grew up in the late 70’s, and sure we had video games like Space Invaders and Pac-man, but it was an afterthought, not a lifestyle. Today’s kids need more than ever to get away from the computer games and get out and socialize with real people, not virtual friends. Golf is by far the very best way to accomplish that, and set your kids up for success in life.
Here is Why:
- Anyone can play golf: golfers come in all shapes and sizes. You don’t have to be particularly strong, tall, lean or fast to succeed. Golf champions come in every shape and size imaginable. It’s never too early to start, and unlike most other sports you can enjoy golf your entire life.
- Minimal risk: Unlike many other popular sports the chances of serious injury are almost non-existent; golf is a non-contact sport.
- Safe and positive environment: The golf course is a safe place to spend the day, and encourages a positive mental attitude.
- Lifelong friendships: You never know who you will meet on a golf course, but it’s one of the easiest place in the world to make friends. Success breeds success, and successful people are the ones you want your kids hanging out with! Best of all, golf creates a unique bond so those friendships can be developed all over the world, and they last a lifetime.
- Prepare for business: It’s hard to think about it now, but kids grow up and the people they meet as children can play a huge part in their success later in life. Golf is a sport that helps prepare kids and teens for careers in the business world. Even at 12 I was learning about real life business every day from all the adults I played with.
- Time Spent Outdoors: In today’s world of video games, smart phones and child obesity, it can be hard to drag your son or daughter off the couch. Golf is the perfect excuse to spend an entire day enjoying nature, and encourages healthy, lifelong exercise habits.
- Important Life Lessons: Golf will teach your child integrity, discipline, persistence and respect. As they learn to conduct themselves on the golf course, these lessons will translate directly into everyday life.
- Further education: Golf can be a passport to college or university, especially in the US. The earlier your child starts, the greater his or her chance of gaining a valuable scholarship.
- Spend time with family: Golf can be enjoyed by the entire family. When children are young they enjoy doing just about anything with you, but it doesn’t long last, so start now! Golf is an opportunity for quality bonding time, which lasts a lifetime.
- It’s FUN: This should probably be at the top of the list as it is one of the best reasons to get your son or daughter involved with golf – they’ll have an absolute blast!
There are a million things you can buy your kids in the hope that it helps them learn and grow, but only a few make a real impact. Encouraging them to play golf is one! Enrol your child in a Junior Golf Academy. Just be warned, very soon they will be out-driving you!
I can’t tell you, what an amazing difference golf has made to my life. Although I had hoped to become a golf professional, I never did, but in the end it didn’t really matter. The travel, friendships, business opportunities and the fact that at 52 I’m can still easily walk 36 holes in a day, more than made up for it!
by Andrew Wood
Thank you Mum and Dad! And Uncle Forbes (he’s the little guy on the left).
By all means post your own experiences in the comments below…