It seems like at least once a week I am asked, “When should my child start golf?” It is a legitimate question, and one that I have thought about for some time. My answer however, is always “Whenever he or she shows an interest in the game.” In my opinion it is pointless to try and force a game on a child. Yes, I do believe that golf teaches us many great lessons, but it is a game, and must be enjoyed.
Many of you already know that I recently was blessed with my first child. Her name is Isla Rose, and I love her unconditionally. For my column this week instead of writing about someone else, I want to turn the lens toward home and share a letter to my own daughter. If you are a parent, this is my sincerest and heartfelt advice if you plan to introduce your child to the game of golf, and the life lessons it can teach.
Dear Isla Rose,
If you decide to play golf, make sure it is for the right reasons. Play because you feel it is fun, and because you love the game. Believe it or not other things in life will bring you greater joy. The day you were born was the happiest day of my life. It also filled me with more fear than I’ve ever felt on any golf course. Fear simply because I want to be a good dad; I don’t want to do it wrong.
If you decide to play golf it can teach you how to be tough, like your mother. She is the toughest person I know. I want to raise you to be like her, and watch you grow up to make it on your own.
If you decide to play golf, I promise to teach you. I also promise to try and work less, but our golf course is growing, and not slowing down anytime soon. It’s why I put in so many hours. I just want the outcome to be something I can look back on and be proud of. However, I won’t be a dad living through a phone line; I can manage the golf course and teach you at the same time.
If you decide to play golf, it will never spoil you, and you can’t perfect it. It will put you through adversity, and you’ll learn how to overcome and persevere through it.
If you decide to play golf, you’ll have your heartbroken. It is a competitive game, and the more devoted you become, the greater the chance of having it break your heart, but don’t let it keep you down. I love you, and I will pick you up shall you ever fall.
If you decide to play golf you’ll eventually call a penalty on yourself. The game is unique in this way. Always tell the truth, regardless of the consequence, and if you lose pay your opponent a compliment.
If you decide to play golf, give back to everyone that helped you grow. It takes many foursomes to raise a golfer dear, just work hard and don’t worry about the praise or accolades.
If you decide to play golf remember that school always comes first. Study hard and you can do anything in the world… Make sure that it is something you love.
If you decide to play golf, you may find yourself praying to the golfing Gods. Go to Church to find the real God dear.
If you decide to play golf, to be happy, you don’t need to follow in your father’s footsteps. Just learn to be selfless. Ask questions and learn from others, as you will meet people from all walks of life through golf.
If you decide to play golf, play all day, in tournaments, for fun, with your friends and neighbors. You’re only young once sweet Isla, don’t waste a moment…
-Matthew Lindberg, PGA