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 would prove to 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 the dumpster in which they put 60 years worth of the pro’s old clubs, balls and rubbish that he had accumulated in his tiny little pro shop. From it, my Uncle Forbes, whom I happened to be visiting, rescued a handful of hickory-shafted clubs, which were promptly cut down to my size and sent back with me to England.
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 get me into a golf club as a junior member. For the next 8 years, I spent every waking hour, other than school, at Lilleshall and later Shifinal golf clubs. The handful of kids I played with there are still my best friends today although I moved 4,000 miles away.
The knowledge I gained about life and business on those fairways surpassed anything I ever learned in college (although my golf did get me a full scholarship).
Here is Why:
1. Anyone Can Play: 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!
2. Minimal Risk: Unlike many other popular sports like baseball, soccer, and football, the chances of injury, especially serious injury, are almost nonexistent; golf is a non-contact sport.
3. Safe and Positive Environment: The golf course is a safe place and facilitates mentoring relationships.
4. Lifelong Friendships: You never know who you will meet on a golf course, but it’s one of the easiest places in the world to make friends. Success breeds success, and people who play golf are by in large more successful than the average bear. Those are the people 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 last a lifetime!
5. 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 business and other professional arenas. Even at 12, I was learning about real-life business every day from all the adults I played with.
6. Time Spent Outdoors: In today’s world of video games, smartphones 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 presents the opportunity to develop healthy, lifelong exercise habits!
7. Important Life Lessons: Golf closely parallels real life as one experiences the highs and lows of the game. The range of experience, from birdies to bogeys, rewards a young person’s ability to keep each shot in perspective, manage one’s emotions, maintain a positive outlook and focus on the shot at hand. Golf is a sport that will teach your child integrity, discipline and respect. As they learn to conduct themselves on the golf course, these lessons will translate directly into everyday life. (See http://traitsofchampions.com)
8. College Scholarships: Avid golfers have a lot of opportunities when it comes to college funding. The earlier your child starts, the greater his or her chance is of gaining access to scholarship money.
9. Spend Time with Family: Golf is a game that encourages family participation. 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, and it’s one that can last a lifetime.
10. It’s FUN: This should probably be at the top of the list. One of the best reasons to get your son or daughter involved with golf is that they’ll have an absolute blast. They’ll have the chance to learn new skills, both physical and mental, make new friends and discover new opportunities.
There are a million things you can buy your kids or gift 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!
- Get your kids some lessons with a local pro.
- Get them a junior membership, normally amazingly cheap compared to other activities.
- Give yourself a high five for doing something that will make a real difference in your child’s life!
I know it did in mine… 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. In the end, it didn’t really matter; the travel, friendships, business opportunities and the fact that at 52 I’m and can still easily walk 36 holes in a day, more than made up for it!
Thank you Mum and Dad!
PS: And Uncle Forbes (He’s the little guy on the left)
PPS. READ my new manual on How to Really Grow the Game!