Hannah Holden has seen everything on the amateur scene – including the dreaded know-it-all parents making their children hate golf
So far this season I have played in a variety of amateur events such as the Scottish Amateur, Welsh Strokeplay and English Amateur Championship. Although these are ladies events there are plenty of juniors competing and that only means one thing: the “golf parent”.
As a general rule I travel to all these tournaments on my own which means I spend a lot of time observing other players with their pushy parents, who are often doubling up as caddies.
One of the things I find amusing at these events is the number of golf parents – mainly dads – who, despite being nowhere near as good as their daughters, keep telling them what to do all the way round the course.
If you glance across the fairways you can see it happening on nearly every hole. I don’t know how some players actually complete their round without knocking their parents out.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of girls who have their mum or dad caddying for them who have a normal round and get on well but it’s not always the case.
I have played with a girl whose dad talked to her non-stop about what she should be doing, only coming up for air once she’d started her backswing. At another event a few weeks later she had sacked him midway through a round. I last saw him wandering aimlessly near the clubhouse. I still wonder if she got a lift home that night.
One of my favourite golf parent stories happened fairly recently.
It’s 7.30am and I’m warming up on the range when a girl sets up in the bay next to me. It’s not long before her dad arrives with a basket of balls and my peaceful warm-up session comes to an end. She’s been stretching for about 30 seconds before he pipes up: “Do it properly or i’m taking you home.”
But it’s when she starts hitting golf shots that I’m really amazed by the level of parent involvement here. First he gets her laser out and measures how far the shot went and told her how far long or short of her target the ball had landed.
Then after every shot he starts measuring, by finger width, how much she had missed her target by either side. By this point I’m not even concentrating on my own shots because I’m utterly fascinated.
Is this a form of AimPoint with which I’m not familiar or is he just the worst kind of golf parent?
I wonder how on earth she is going to make it around the golf course with him as a caddie and pray they are not in my three-ball. (Relax, they weren’t.)
I can’t imagine either of my parents – both keen golfers – would ever be like this, but situations like this serve as a stark reminder that I don’t ever really want to have the chance to find out.
And FYI, if you’re a pushy golf parent, I can assure you you’re making your child hate this beautiful sport of ours. It’s their career you’re ruining, not yours.
Stay tuned and I’ll keep you updated with my tales from the amateur circuit including my thoughts on everything from dress codes, slow play, and the weird and wonderful people I meet out there. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below or tweet me.