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Opinion & Analysis

Growing Up Golf Part 9: The Aggravation Factor

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For you parents with little golfers ages 3 to 5 and maybe even beyond those ages, we need to talk about parent aggravation and frustration. There is going to come a time when your little golfer is going to give less than the effort he or she should. It’s not a matter of if, it’s going to be a matter of when. Every single one of us will encounter this at some point and time. My time came last week during my daughter’s golf class.

Our daughter is enrolled into a kids golf clinic called “Little Tigers” which is held on Saturdays. It’s a golf clinic designed for kids ages 3-5, and the curriculum is very basic. There are no complicated instructions — it’s basically designed to have kids involved in golf and to be around other kids their age. The class is 45 minutes long and is usually broken into two halves. The first half of the class is geared around hitting irons and drivers. The second half is focused on putting.

Friday night we had snow fall, with about 3 inches of accumulation in Indiana. When she woke up and saw the snow she did what all kids do when they see the fluffy white stuff everywhere: She jumped up and down and asked if she could go out and play in it. My wife said to our daughter that we can play in the snow after golf school. My daughter and I arrived to class today, paid our registration fee and headed out to the heated tees.

Now, I am not a big fan of having these young kids hit outside during the winter even if the tee’s are heated. So I had sympathy when my daughter said to me:

“Daddy I don’t want to hit outside, I want to stay in here.” I replied with, “Sweetheart we won’t be out there very long and look the rest of your class is already walking out.” So we headed to the heated tees.

Normally, we share a mat with another student and the kids hit four balls and rotate. Last week, we had our own mat and didn’t need to rotate. I thought to myself that this was better because she can get antsy waiting for her turn. I could tell early on that she wasn’t into hitting balls that. She had what I call “wondering eyes” — she was more concerned about everything else around her except the ball we were hitting. Her swings were half-hearted and there wasn’t any effort in trying to hit the ball.

Bucket of Golf Balls

My daughter was able to finish her bucket of balls (which is about 20 balls total) and during those 20 swings, she asked if she could go onto the range and touch the snow. She used her driver as a microphone and was singing into it and was dancing. All typical acts of a normal 3 year old. The only problem was that we were on a driving range and not at home in the family room where she likes to entertain the audience.

Well, since we had our own mat, we finished before the rest of the kids. My daughter was sitting on my lap trying to stay warm and she looks at me and said, “Daddy I want to go home now.” I said, “Honey, we are getting ready to go inside and play the putting game.” I thought that might make her change her mind since that’s what she wanted to do in the first place. She then says again “No Daddy, I just want to leave now.”

So I was in that uncomfortable place that all parents visit from time to time. I wanted to say, “Class is not over and we need to wait until we are finished before we leave,” and at the same time I didn’t want to force her into doing something she didn’t want to do. So we grabbed her bag and headed to the car.

As I loaded up the car, I could feel the aggravation building inside of me. My daughter has never walked out of anything midway through. She takes gymnastics, and never once left in the middle of a session. At this point, I was in complete shock that we were leaving. So on the way home, we  made our stop at Dunkin’ Donuts (we do this after class each time — in the summer we get ice cream and in the winter we get hot chocolate and munchkins). I didn’t want her to think she was being punished for not finishing class. On the way to Dunkin’ Donuts she asked me if she did good.

Now, this is where I make my biggest mistake during this whole incident, I replied “You were doing great until you quit and wanted to leave.” Not even realizing the negativity of the word “quit.” I was so aggravated and frustrated about having to leave in the middle of class that it slipped right out.

She said: “I didn’t quit Daddy.” I replied: “We left before class was over, that’s quitting,” and she replied, “I’m not a quitter.”

I can’t begin to tell you how embarrassed I am to be telling you that those words came out of my mouth. Shame on me! I know better than to use a negative word like “quit.” What I should have said was “You did great, you hit all the balls in the bucket” and followed up with “I wish we could have stayed longer and gone inside to play the putting games with the rest of the class, maybe next week we can stay longer.” So when we get home my wife asked our daughter how golf went and my daughter says “I quit Mommy.” My wife said, “What do you mean you quit? We don’t quit sweetheart” My daughter then said, “No Mommy, I quit and came home.” My wife gives me the what-did-you-say-to-our-daughter-on-the-way-home look. So I had to explain to her what I said and how it slipped out.

I am sharing this story with you because I want you to understand how one negative word can affect your child. She finished her bucket of balls and instead of staying positive, I expressed a negative feeling because of my aggravation. Now my daughter viewed herself as a quitter and not having a feeling of accomplishment for doing so. I can tell you this, it feels horrible inside to hear your daughter say she’s a quitter when asked how  golf class went. She now associated today’s class as a failure rather than a sense of accomplishment. So now instead of class being fun (which is what I have been pushing this whole time, to keep it fun) I now took the fun out of it with one word.

I had all day to think about why my daughter didn’t want to finish class and there are several factors that play a role in this.

No Fun Golf

1. She expressed immediately that she didn’t want to hit outside.

2. Because we didn’t have to share a mat, she was hitting ball after ball after ball. She didn’t get her break while the other child hit his four balls. The activity became monotonous for her.

3. She had playing in the snow on her mind all day and couldn’t wait to get back home so she could go out and play in it. That explains why there wasn’t an effort to hit balls.

4. When we putt inside, there is a bell that rings when you sink a putt (like a reward for making a putt go in). Outside on the range, there’s no sense of accomplishment when you hit the ball well. There are no targets or flags set up close enough for these little kids to strive for. That makes hitting outside not fun for her.

You add up numbers one through four and what do you get? Not fun, and what’s the No. 1 factor that has to remain for kids to be interested in golf? FUN!! We have to keep it fun for them to stay active in this sport. I failed today in keeping it fun. I ignored the fact that she said she didn’t want to go outside and hit. Golf already lost the battle from the start. She had no desire to even want to be there in the first place. She said she wanted to stay inside and putt — I should have asked if she could skip hitting outside and see if it was OK to hit into the one of the indoor nets and then moved onto putting.

I hope my experience from this event helps you understand that what we say to our children can really affect how they feel about golf or anything else in life. We need to concentrate on what we say and even though frustration and aggravation is getting the best of us, we have to remain positive. There were plenty of positives from the 20 balls that she hit and I let frustration get the better of me and left a negative impression on my daughter.

As I tucked her into bed for the night I whispered in her ear, “I had fun today watching you hit balls,” and she gave me a kiss and a hug and said, “I had fun with you too, Daddy.” Hopefully she forgives me.

Click here for more discussion in the “Junior Golf” forum.

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Kadin Mahmet has a passion for golf. He has coached at the collegiate level and has worked as an instructor specializing in youth athletics. You can follow Kadin on Twitter @BigKadin. "Like" Growing Up Golf on Facebook @ facebook.com/Growing.Up.Golf for more content.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. PeanutsDaddy

    Nov 3, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    A very poignant message Kadin. You clearly demonstrate the power of reflection. I feel blessed to have been introduced to this series. My 3 year old son will benefit from your insights.

    “Words are like eggs dropped from great heights; you can no more call them back than ignore the mess they leave when they fall.”

    ? Jodi Picoult, Salem Falls

  2. Kadin Mahmet

    Feb 7, 2013 at 12:43 am

    Sean and Andy..

    Thanks for the kind words..!!

  3. Andy

    Feb 6, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    This was a wonderful article. I have had so many similar instances with my own daughter who is 4.5 year old. Its almost like when I take her for golfing, I expect her to swing like Tiger or Rory when they were 5 years old. I am so glad you shared your story and I shall apply what I learned here today.

    Learning the art of raising the right way is the most important, many people believe or think that once they become parents it all comes naturally. What comes naturally is – labor, delivery, need to protect, nurture and love. However, what must be learned and helps differentiate parents who create children who are achievers are those who want to learn and accept their shortfalls and improve it in a positive manner.

  4. Sean

    Feb 5, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    Parenting weighs heavy on only those that really care. Be glad that you can recognize and adapt. Your aughter is fortunate to have such a father. I am raising 4, 3 in Golf. Also in Indiana.

  5. Kadin Mahmet

    Feb 1, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    Thanks for taking the time to read and post ABgolfer2, you’re welcome!

  6. ABgolfer2

    Feb 1, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Thanks for sharing this – I’ve had similar struggles with my daughter. “.

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Podcasts

Gear Dive: How Tiger Woods used to adjust his clubs based on swing changes

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Ben Giunta, a former Nike Tour Rep and now owner of the TheTourVan.com, joins host Johnny Wunder and TXG’s Ian Fraser on this episode of The Gear Dive. Ben discusses working in-depth with Nike Athletes before the company stopped producing hard goods. He has some fantastic intel on TW and the setup of his sticks (around the 14-minute mark). They also discuss Ben’s new endeavor.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

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Opinion & Analysis

The 2018 NCAA Men’s National Championship: By the Numbers

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For the 2018 NCAA Men’s Championship, 156 participants (30 teams of five, and six individuals) will collect at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Oklahoma on May 25-30 to determine the 2018 NCAA Individual Champion and the NCAA Team champion.

There will be three days of stroke play on Friday through Sunday (54 holes). From there, 15 teams and nine individuals advance to a final day of stroke play on Monday. That will determine the eight teams who will advance to match play, and the individual 72-hole stroke play champion. Match play format on Tuesday and Wednesday will then determine the national team champion.

Who will win? Well, let’s look at the numbers from the NCAA Men’s Championships in the past 9 years (when they began playing match play as part of the national title).

Average winning score for individual stroke play

  • For 3 rounds of stroke play — 832 strokes (avg. 69.3 per golfer)
  • For 4 rounds of stroke play — 1137 strokes (avg. 71.06 per golfer)

Number of No. 1 seeds to win championship: 0

Average match play seed of eventual winner: 4.5

Where the winners have come from

  • 44 percent of winners (4 out of 9) are from the SEC: Texas AM (2009), Alabama (2013, 2014) and LSU (2015)
  • 22 percent of winners (2 out of 9) are from the Big 12: Texas (2012), Oklahoma (2017)
  • 22 percent of winners (2 out of 9) are from Augusta, GA: August State (2010, 2011)
  • 11 percent of winners (1 out of 9) are from the PAC 12: Oregon (2016)
  • 11 percent of the match play field has historically come from mid-major teams

Mid-Majors that have Qualified for Match Play

  • August State (2010, 2011)
  • Kent State (2012)
  • San Diego State (2012)
  • New Mexico University (2013)
  • SMU (2014)
  • UNLV (2017)

Mid Majors with 4+ Appearances in the NCAA National Championship 

  • UCF (2009, 2012, 2013, 2017, 2018)
  • Kent State (2010, 201, 2013, 2017, 2018)
  • North Florida (2010, 2012, 2013, 2018)

So with facts in hand, let’s hear your opinion GolfWRX readers… who’s going to be your team champion for 2018?

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Fantasy Preview: 2018 Fort Worth Invitational

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Under a new name, but a very familiar setting, the Fort Worth Championship gets underway this week. Colonial Country Club will host, and it’s an event that has attracted some big names to compete in the final stop of the Texas swing. The top two ranked Europeans, Jon Rahm and Justin Rose are in the field, as are Americans Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler.

Colonial is a tricky course with narrow tree-lined fairways that are imperative to hit. Distance off the tee holds no real advantage this week with approach play being pivotal. Approach shots will be made more difficult this week than usual by the greens at Colonial, which are some of the smallest on the PGA Tour. Last year, Kevin Kisner held off Spieth, Rahm, and O’Hair to post 10-under par and take the title by a one-stroke margin.

Selected Tournament Odds (via Bet365)

  • Jordan Spieth 9/1
  • Jon Rahm 14/1
  • Justin Rose 18/1
  • Webb Simpson 18/1
  • Rickie Fowler 20/1
  • Jimmy Walker 28/1
  • Adam Scott 28/1

Last week, Jordan Spieth (9/1, DK Price $11,700) went off at the Byron Nelson as the prohibitive 5/1 favorite. Every man and his dog seemed to be on him, and after Spieth spoke to the media about how he felt he had a distinct advantage at a course where he is a member, it was really no surprise. Comments like this from Spieth at the Byron Nelson are not new. When the event was held at TPC Four Seasons, Spieth often made similar comments. The result? He flopped, just as he did last week at Trinity Forest. Spieth’s best finish at the Byron Nelson in his career is T-16. The reason for this, I believe, is the expectations he has put on himself at this event for years.

Switch to Colonial, and the difference is considerable. Spieth’s worst finish here is T-14. In his last three visits, he has finished second, first and second. While Spieth may believe that he should win the Byron Nelson whenever he tees it up there, the evidence suggests that his love affair is with Colonial. The statistic that truly emphasizes his prowess at Colonial, though, is his Strokes Gained-Total at the course. Since 2013, Spieth has a ridiculous Strokes Gained-Total of more than +55 on the course, almost double that of Kisner in second place.

Spieth’s long game all year has been consistently good. Over his previous 24 rounds, he ranks first in this field for Strokes Gained-Tee to Green, second for Ball Striking, and first for Strokes Gained-Total. On the other hand, his putting is awful at the moment. He had yet another dreadful performance on the greens at Trinity Forest, but he was also putting nowhere near his best coming into Colonial last year. In 2017, he had dropped strokes on the greens in his previous two events, missing the cut on both occasions, yet he finished seventh in Strokes Gained-Putting at Colonial on his way to a runner-up finish. His record is too good at this course for Spieth to be 9/1, and he can ignite his 2018 season in his home state this week.

Emiliano Grillo’s (50/1, DK Price $8,600) only missed cut in 2018 came at the team event in New Orleans, and he arrives this week at a course ideally suited to the Argentine’s game. Grillo performed well here in 2017, recording a top-25 finish. His form in 2018 leads me to believe he can improve on that this year.

As a second-shot golf course, Colonial sets up beautifully for the strengths of Grillo’s game. Over his previous 12 rounds, Grillo ranks first in Strokes Gained-Approaching the Green, second in Ball Striking, third in Strokes Gained-Tee to Green and eighth in Strokes Gained-Total. The Argentine also plays short golf courses excellently. Over his last 50 rounds, Grillo is ranked ninth for Strokes Gained-Total on courses measuring 7,200 yards or less. Colonial is right on that number, and Grillo looks undervalued to continue his consistent season on a course that suits him very well.

Another man enjoying a consistent 2018 is Adam Hadwin (66/1, DK Price $7,600), who has yet to miss a cut this season. The Canadian is enjoying an excellent run of form with five top-25 finishes from his last six stroke-play events. Hadwin is another man whose game is tailor made for Colonial. His accurate iron play and solid putting is a recipe for success here, and he has proven that by making the cut in all three of his starts at Colonial, finishing in the top-25 twice.

Hadwin is coming off his worst performance of 2018 at The Players Championship, but it was an anomaly you can chalk up to a rare poor week around the greens (he was seventh-to-last in Strokes Gained-Around the Green for the week). In his previous seven starts, Hadwin had a positive strokes gained total in this category each time. Over his last 24 rounds, Hadwin ranks seventh in Strokes Gained-Approaching the Green, 15th in Ball Striking, and ninth in Strokes Gained-Putting. He looks to have an excellent opportunity to improve on his solid record at Colonial this week.

Finally, as far as outsiders go, I like the look of Sean O’Hair (175/1, DK Price $7,100) at what is a juicy price. One of last year’s runners-up, his number is far too big this week. He has had some excellent performances so far in 2018. In fact, in his previous six starts, O’Hair has made five cuts and has notched three top-15 finishes, including his runner-up finish at the Valero Texas Open. The Texan has made three of his last four cuts at Colonial, and he looks to be an excellent pick on DraftKings at a low price.

Recommended Plays

  • Jordan Spieth 9/1, DK Price $11,700
  • Emiliano Grillo 50/1, DK Price $8.600
  • Adam Hadwin 66/1, DK Price $7,600
  • Sean O’Hair 175/1, DK Price  $7,100
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