It is well documented that I believe the dumbest question in golf is: how do you get more juniors into the game?
I was always taught that in order to obtain a better answer, ask a better question. So, a better question would be: how do you get more parents to get more kids into the game?
Since the parents have the disposable income, the mode of transport and the desired maturing effect golf may have on their child, it seems obvious that most marketing efforts should be re-strategized to be parent-centric.
Hopefully the three lines above may provoke a different mindset to any club professional, amateur body or golf school in the pre launch phase of a robust and fertile junior program. The parents are the key.
Or are they?
I am the last person in the world to start waffling on about the good old days or, this is the way we use to do it. As a student and disciple of Eastern writings and philosophy, I live with one eye on the future, one eye in the past but my head very much awake in between the two.
Modern day parenting compared to what you might call ‘Traditional Parenting’, finds itself wider apart than it’s ever been. Some differences are positive, some, not so positive. Because accessible knowledge and education have created an ever-increasing IP gap between children and parents, todays child is afforded the ability to make more and more of their own life choices. This is good when it comes to vocational choices.
But what about the formative years? What about the disciplines one can learn from sport, golf for example, which WILL create the foundation and disciplines of that inevitable vocation.
Let me give you an example. From the age of eleven to twenty-one I competed at a high level as a swimmer. Six days a week, morning and evening I would train in the pool. There were times when I’d fake being asleep after my alarm had sounded; my father, irrespective of my apparent deafness, slung off the duvet and instructed: up you get.
Other times, after the 30-minute drive to the pool, I’d again fake being asleep in the back of the car in the hope my mother would capitulate and whisper to my Dad: He’s had a long day at school, let him sleep. Nope, that didn’t soften my father either. Wakey wakey, time to train he’d say.
Left to my own decision, there would have been innumerable times when I’d dodged training in favour of sleeping in the car or some other more pleasurable activity.
My point is, that without the discipline of my father insisting for me to do things I didn’t want to do, I in turn gained the discipline to work through the tough stuff and simply get on with things.
Now Golf is a tough game and however you want to frame it, there is a deathly space that resides between taking the game up and gaining competence. If you do not show signs of progress early, its likely that you’ll quickly conclude, that the time, the effort, the dedication and the discipline to learn are simply not worth it.
With steadfast parenting, even if the child does not go on to be a world class player, golf can create the foundations that almost certainly create successful lives.
Golf is a great game. It can teach many things, but unless your child is obsessive, you may well have to be a motivator as well as a parent with tough love. Have you got that?
What is a successful life?
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did. ~ Mark Twain
And that folks, takes discipline.