How To Coach (Or Not Coach) Your Junior Golfer | Dog Leg News

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Tom Edrington

Tom Edrington spent the first 10 years of his misguided youth as a sports writer for the Tampa Tribune. His career brought him face to face with many of sports greatest stars -- Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Muhammad Ali, Don Shula, countless Hall of Fame NFL stars, more PGA Tour players than he can count. In 1980 he was honored by the Golf Writers Association of America for writing the best news story that year, his coverage of Jack Nicklaus' U.S. Open victory at Baltusrol. Today, 36 years later, golf is still a great part of his life, thanks to competitive playing days and the wonderful people he has met on this fabulous journey.

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    baxter cepeda

    The First Tee has many pga pros running programs, often coaching First tee Classes. And yes there can be some coaches whom golf very average, but they are often the best at teaching many other important lessons. As I say, it takes a village to raise a golfer. If anything I see many brats closed minded to any help or feedback from anyone but their swing instructor, which they spend less than an hour a week with.

    While it is true parents can be too involved, make no mistake, too involved is way better than not involved enough.

    While it makes some sense for junior golfers to not have spectators for some smaller, local events,
    It is important to provide families the option to spectate. Various tours where we live Uniquely do not allow spectators, which i clearly see reduces participation. No one wants to work all week only to take your kids to the course on the weekend and have to volunteer or just kill time.

    Many parents don’t want to bother their kids, but they do want to simply enjoy watching their own kids play in competition; most parents watch very quietly from a distance so as not to bother anyone.

    Some parents never spectate their kids until the biggest events, which is probably not helpful to young players because they are not used to it. Competitors need to learn to play in front of people, especially their parents.

    I do believe golf organizations need to have strict guidelines for spectating and/or caddying junior events and obviously enforce them. But again, eliminating parents from spectating is not for the good of the game because it prevents growing the game.

    1. 1.1

      Tom Edrington

      Baxter: We do not propose “eliminating” spectating by parents; I do recall Jack showing up to watch Gary play in some events when he was in high school and there were 200 people watching Jack watch Gary…..

      1. 1.1.1

        baxter cepeda

        Even A lot of high school golf, at least around here, doesn’t allow spectating either.
        I find that ridiculous.
        As a swimmer and water polo player i loved having mom and dad there to watch.
        When I played soccer as a kid I loved having my dad as the coach and a bunch of people yelling and screaming.
        Some people are not able to work with their kids, or even be around them, but most parents know how to strike that balance.
        I’m just saying golf is expensive and time consuming. Son telling families what they can and cannot do is just not smart. Imo.


          Tom Edrington

          One of the huge problems in many sports is the parents; A good friend, former college pitcher and financial supporter of his local youth baseball leagues told me: “parents have ruined Little League baseball”……I have seen too many “helicopter” parents who think their kids are going to play the tour one day…..they’re in for a letdown.


            baxter cepeda

            “Helicopter parents” is why I say they need strict guidelines and enforcement of parent behavior in every junior sport; But not exclusion or differential treatment of parents.

            …for example the usga not allowing parent-caddies for Jr Am events is unfair. For many players mom or dad are the best, if not only option for a looper.

            Most parents just want to help their kids, organizations can help everyone by just telling moms and dads clearly what they can and cannot do. In golf (at least) good guidelines should solve 99% of parental issues.

            The 1% remaining is how organizers earn their position (paid or not) by handling parent issues firmly. People push the line, so like parents, organizers need to draw the line and enforce it.

            Some parents will always need to be suspended. If organizers don’t have a system to identify unwanted behavior or the backbone to punish trouble parents, leagues suffer.

          2. Tom Edrington

            Baxter: Great feedback from a golf-parent, thanks!!

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