Blog: The Kids Are Alright

When your child takes up the game you love - you question the game itself

My four-year-old son recently enjoyed his first golf lesson, a momentous and proud moment for his father and I’m pleased to say a resounding success for junior.

With any luck it will be the first step in a long and happy relationship with the game, which has enriched my life to such a large degree.

Once he was actually doing golf, I could relax, but getting to that stage reminded me why the game has struggled, and continues to struggle, in recent years. 

There are so many hurdles to overcome – even if, like me, you are a member of a club with excellent practice facilities and access to helpful PGA professionals.

I was nervous about what he was wearing – how preposterous is that? – and his behaviour.

At the age of four, he is clearly incapable of conforming to golfing etiquette and I could hardly guarantee he wouldn’t cavort across a green or, more likely, through a bunker.

In the event, a deserted practice ground on a winter Saturday afternoon was the perfect setting. 

He and his best friend had a great time and it didn’t matter how much noise they made, shrieking and dancing with excitement (really) when they holed a one-foot putt and asking the never-ending series of questions that all parents of children this age will recognise. 
I was nervous about what he was wearing – how preposterous is that? – and his behaviour. As an aside, my favourite was a meaning-of-the-universeequivalent: “What’s the point of golf?”.

I left their teacher to answer that one.

The point I’m trying to make is that they loved the elements of the game that we all do – whacking it off the tee and the finesse required to get the ball in the hole when reduced to their most basic.

Giving them the chance is the real challenge. 

Most of the hurdles are within golf’s own power to change and centre around making the clubhouse experience less rigid and intimidating to newcomers. 

I truly hope we can do this in the years ahead before it’s too late.

Showing golf on Sky is a bit like preaching to the converted.

Sky Sports subscribers are, like me, already addicted to the action.

Showing golf to people who otherwise would not realise its existence is what the BBC can do.

That’s what will be lost when the Open moves to Sky for live coverage in 2017 and I fear there will be an impact on interest levels and awareness.

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