I happened to be coming back from lunch when I spotted some familiar faces on the green just ahead of me. Four of my homeschool group golf students decided to put their skills to the test by playing 9 holes at Okeeheelee Golf Course. When I walked up I experienced the feelings of a proud dad. In less than a year these boys had learned enough to feel comfortable getting on the course and tackling what I call big ball syndrome...this is when the confidence you developed practicing on the range gets eaten up by the vastness of the actual golf course.
The boys were having fun and that's my main goal when teaching junior golfers. Additionally, I was told they were hitting some great drives, approach shots and they were very diligent is filling divots. One of the Moms is also my student so she was serving as their "coach" for the round. Another Mom was taking pictures while the other Moms were watching from the carts. It was really amazing to see. These are memories that these boys will cherish and I can only imagine how the Moms felt watching their young golfers progress through the course.
Today was probably the coldest day we have had this year but that did not phase my homeschool golf students. Some came dressed for the artic while others chose a layered approach. Nonetheless, they were ready to show me what they learned. One by one they stepped up for individual assessments. Out of the corner of my eye I could see friendships forming as some of the girls huddled together to keep warm. I also heard words of encouragement, "Don't worry, I was happy feet once, but look at me now." That's golf at its best and these young golfers are getting it.
Golf is an individual sport in many ways, but you play the game with other individuals and it is important to treat them with respect. There have been countless times when I have heard one student shout "Wow, great shot!" or "You can do it!" For them it is not a competition with each other, it is about learning at your own pace and celebrating the successes of others.
Within the group I also have some students who become frustrated with their progress at times. In golf this is almost a given, but that's where I help them to look at the skill in a different way or find a way to make them laugh through their challenges. Overall, I have been very impressed with the tenacity of this group and their willingness to accept feedback.
It is a pleasure to coach them and I look forward to our next series.
The Homeschool Group Golf launched on September 11, 2018 with a great group of 10 students ages 4 - 14. While a few had some exposure to golf, overall the group is definitely beginner. Beginner groups are incredibly fun to teach because I get to witness dramatic improvements and hopefully develop some young raw talent.
In the first lesson, I spent time determining which golf clubs would be appropriate for each golfer, I discussed safety and then I showed them some basics. Soon the new golfers were learning that the golf swing is not as easy as it looks but they had fun. Fun is what is most important for me after the first lesson.
During our second lesson, we focused on swing mechanics. This is when I get to see natural ability for the full swing. Some golfers are able to remain balanced naturally while others have tremendous power that needs to be harnessed. Still others need more detailed instruction because they are thinking the same skills that worked for them in another sport can be applied to golf. This is not always the case.
I am having a blast with this group of young people. During our next meeting I will be introducing the little feet to help them understand that "Happy Feet" is a movie not a golf move.
I recently learned that one of my students would be attending school at home. His Mom told me that after observing the environment in the public school system as a substitute teacher she discovered that her son was not challenged academically. Having spent a considerable amount of time with him in golf lessons, I can attest that he is a very intelligent young boy and I look forward to seeing him grow as a golfer and as a person.
I have talked to other parents who have elected to homeschool their children and while quality of education is important, I believe character building is a big factor. As a golfer, character is paramount. Counting strokes requires the golfer to be honest. If you accidentally hit your ball while taking a practice swing it counts. If you move your ball out of a difficult lie, it counts. If you hit the ball into the water, it counts. Everything counts in golf and everything counts in life.
I have been playing since I was five but I practice every morning and any chance I get in-between lessons. I love golf and it is my hope that my students will grow to love it as much as I do. Some of my students have aspirations of attaining college scholarships and beyond so I talk to them constantly about commitment, discipline and perseverance. All of these traits apply to the decisions we make daily.
If you have decided to homeschool your child or know someone who has because character building is important, allow me to be a partner in that endeavor. I have recently relaunched a 7-week Junior Golf Group Class on Tuesdays at Park Ridge Golf Course.
Start date: September 11, 2018
Time: 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Registration: Contact Coach Glen
Registration Fee: $65 golf clubs provided (payment by cash, check or credit card will be collected on day 1). Parents will sign a liability waiver at this time as well.
Attire: Traditional golf attire (dress shorts/collared shirts), age appropriate athletic attire and gym shoes are permitted.
Duration: 7-weeks, students are welcome to take the series as often as they wish.
Meeting Place: The deck between the pro shop and the cafe.