Practice and playing really needs to become part of my daily routine, to say I was rusty is an enormous understatement.
So since I missed the cut, for the final day, I got a chance to get out on the golf course and watch the competitors play their final round. It was during this time I got to see something which was very special, and encapsulated everything about the game that I hold dear.
You’ll see the photograph accompanying this article, and I hope you will appreciate how unique the game is for young and old. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get the third player in shot but if I told you that he was 14 and played off 4 you may appreciate golf’s special place in the world of sport. Also, why golf and juniors is a perfect mixture.
The adult in the photograph is the President of the Portuguese Golf Federation, and the junior beside him is his son who, like me, missed the cut. Out of picture is a 14 year old who also made the cut. So you have two juniors under the age of 15 spending time with the head of Portuguese golf for over 4 hours, on equal footing, no handicaps, no special privileges just golfers playing the game. Both players nervous about their performance whilst at the same time doing something which they both love.
Just prior to the photograph being taken, the president had asked his son to read the putt. Now I ask you, is that not the perfect participation sport where priceless lessons will be learned all around honesty, integrity, discipline, and interaction with adults? When you think that the old adage, ‘children should be seen and not heard’ certainly does not apply here in this picture.
Juniors are coached to understand rules, fairness, responsibility, strategy, and responsibility in golf, whilst learning how to interact with adults who are also abiding to the same rules laid out by The R&A. It is worth mentioning that the junior who is out of shot in the photograph, is probably
half the size of the adult.
He still managed to card an 83 in his fourth round of competitive play that week.
I’m sure that the language being used would go along the lines of ‘could have done better’, ‘wish I’d have done that,’ which is all valuable review, because it is setting out the plan on how to learn from mistakes which could have been avoided with the benefit of hindsight.
This junior competed for over 20 hours in a national championship open to professionals and amateurs, finished tied 47th, probably a little disappointed that the level par first round wasn’t replicated. But what a tremendous experience he has taken away from the week.
When compared to the stereotype of teenagers around the world, the game has many lessons to teach young golfers all of which will hold them in good stead for the rest of their lives. These transferable skills can be taken into the world of academia and the world of business.
When you compare the game to other sports you can see that the skill set which the player develops through playing the game is the skill set which you would love to see young adults demonstrating the world over.
Because of the pandemic, golf is now seeing a huge uptake because of the perceived safety, space and exercise the game has to offer. Now is the best time to get juniors introduced to the game so that in 15 years the game will have a stronger base from which to grow.