Each week during my Homeschool Group Golf Classes I focus on one or more of the First Tee 9 Core Values. I firmly believe that junior golfers become people of character as they learn them and actually apply them in their everyday lives. That belief allows me to look forward to the future with hope.
While some junior golfers take the initiative to learn and apply, most need a helping hand or a gentle push from a parent, mentor or even an older sibling. It is my hope that the discussion questions that follow will be used as conversation starters in the car, during dinner or casual walk. Try one soon and let me know how it goes. Remember, these are not one-time conversations.
Core Value Discussion Questions
1. Respect is being polite and kind in one’s actions. What are some ways you can be respectful at home? What are some ways you can be respectful outside of the home?
2. Courtesy is being or acting polite to others. What are some ways you can be courteous at home? What are some way you can be courteous outside of the home?
3. Responsibility is it’s up to me, I am the one myself and others depend on to make it happen. What are some ways you can be responsible at home? What are some ways you can be responsible outside of your home?
4. Honesty is telling the truth. Describe a time where you were honest.
5. Sportsmanship is playing by the rules and acting nice to others no matter if you are winning or losing. Describe a time you were exhibiting sportsmanship.
6. Confidence is a feeling of “I can do it!” Describe a time you felt confident. What are some ways you can help yourself be more confident?
7. Judgment is to make a decision or form an opinion. What are some ways you can use good judgment at home? What are some ways you can use good judgment outside of your home?
8. Perseverance is to keep going to matter what. Describe a time you had to persevere and what helped you keep going.
9. Integrity is knowing the difference between right and wrong; doing what is right even when no one is looking. Describe a person you think has integrity.
10. Complete the following statement. I will use the core value of ____________at least once every day by __________________________ because ________________________.
If you really want to play golf you need to develop some mental toughness. When I play, I often talk to myself as I prepare to hit a shot and I can be really hard on myself when I shot does not go the way I visualized it in my head. You will not see me pound my club or throw a club in the water after a poor round. Yet this is exactly what a player did on the 18th hole at the Players Championship this weekend.
Throwing your clubs in the water or on ground is a bad judgment call because if those clubs are damaged or cannot be retrieved, they are no longer available to you during the round. Why would anyone deliberately handicap themselves? Unfortunately, a lack of mental toughness often leads to judgment calls that are emotionally led.
I mentioned that I talk to myself when I play. This is not uncommon, PGA Tour players are often caught on the mic offering feedback to themselves after seeing the outcome of their swing. We make judgment calls when we choose the words that we use to critique ourselves. One player chose to use a word that was deemed offensive by his sponsor and he was dropped within twenty-four hours. That's a very costly judgment call.
In golf and in life we have to make choices. When evaluating your choices, it is important to consider all of the possible outcomes of those choices. This is where judgment enters the picture. On the golf course, you have to make the call about club selection, target selection and tempo to name a few .
The more you play the more you develop information about your abilities and how to approach the shot or putt at hand. While the goal is simple, get the ball in hole in the least amount of strokes, the strategy to accomplish that goal requires you to be clear of mind so you can apply judgment before making a decision.
Judgment: the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions.
When I teach beginner golf students, the most common feedback I hear is "this is harder than it looks." While this may be true, by the end of the first lesson, they leave with more confidence in their ability to learn and eventually play the game. I fully believe when you have experienced some level of success you will be motivated to get to the next level. It is my goal to help all of my students get to the next level and become more confident in their abilities.
confidence: the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust.
In golf, the person who had the best score on the previous hole is extended "honor" which means they tee off first on the next hole. This is just one way that golfers extend courtesy to one another. Another important way of extending courtesy is being mindful of time. This starts with arriving at least ten minutes before your scheduled tee time and continues through the round by maintaining the appropriate pace of play for each hole.
Being mindful of time should extend outside of the golf course as well. This means showing up five to ten minutes before a scheduled appointment. If you are running late for an appointment it is courteous to notify the person you were scheduled to meet so they can plan accordingly. Amazingly, these two simple ways of extending courtesy are often neglected but they don't have to be forgotten.
The core value of courtesy is a building block for sportsmanship. In other words, you are incapable of displaying sportsmanship without courtesy which is defined as 'the showing of politeness in one's attitude and behavior toward others'. This is especially important in life which is why I am very supportive of parents who cancel lessons when their junior golfer has not been courteous to them. I will also do what I can in the following lesson to encourage better choices at home.
Respect begins with how you feel about yourself. If you do not respect yourself, it is very unlikely that you will respect others never mind the environment that you occupy. The Village of Royal Palm Beach opened the Golf Learning Center in Commons Park to offer a service to its residents and any other people who might like a quiet place to practice their golf skills. I have the honor of teaching there almost daily and it is incredibly disappointing to see how some people treat the facility. The following are some friendly reminders that can be applied at all practice facilities:
1. Purchase golf balls at the machine. Collecting balls on the range with your picker is stealing.
2. The balls belong to the facility. Taking practice balls home is stealing.
3. When using the balls to practice short game or approach skills do not leave them behind. Always collect them, use them on the driving range or offer them to another golfer.
4. The putting greens are for putting only.
5. Do not practice in areas that are roped off.
Without respect, we can not appreciate. When appreciation is lacking, selfishness thrives. Let's make a change.
When I posted the first core value of honesty, I explained that it is part of my coaching strategy for juniors but I believe adult golfers could benefit from a refresher on all of the core values as well. I have seen many adult or veteran golfers completely show disregard for the course they are privileged to play by not filling their divots, ignoring the "cart path only signs," and not returning golf carts to the proper place. This is NOT respect!
Now that the courses are open again, it is more important than ever to follow the rules of play. Let's remember to show respect to each other during this unprecedented time.