One of the greatest joys in my life is teaching youngsters how to play the greatest game in the world, the game of golf. I know that’s a strong statement, but it’s one I make because golf is a game that teaches life lessons like no other. Golf teaches youngsters the importance of integrity. It’s the only game where you keep your own score. At the core of the sport, integrity and accountability are displayed. Golf also puts emphasis on life lessons of perseverance, diligence, disappointment, triumph, and importantly sportsmanship, which is displayed after each match when a golfer removes his or her hat and shakes the opponent’s hand whether they win or loose.
The process of teaching golf to children follows a typical pattern. They all think it’s easy. They see the white ball in the middle off the green mat. As I stand there I can hear their thoughts. “How hard can this be to hit this little ball of the mat with this big club?” I instruct them on how to grip the club. It has been stated by golf experts that the grip is the most important part of learning golf. If your grip is off, your whole swing will be misaligned. So great emphasis is put on this part of the lesson. Once the proper grip is achieved, we move on to the address. The address is defined as how far or close do you place your club on the mat or ground to hit the ball. Now comes the part they all have been anxiously waiting for, the swing. Take the club back slowly and swing naturally at the ball raising the trailing foot ending on the toe. The swing and a miss. The look of total surprise spread across their faces. They look down and the white ball is still there almost seeming to laugh. Then chuckles ring out from the whole class. Okay, this time don’t try to kill the ball. Go back slowly and then forward with the same tempo, ending up on the toe. The instructions are followed this time and for most of them that glorious sound from the club sticking the ball is heard. “SMACK” the ball goes flying. Looks of surprise and excitement are on the faces of the students. They are hooked for life.
After the class is over, I begin to reflect how great it is to expose these young people to this game. This sport again will expose them to some of life’s great lessons. Golf will also open their lives to some great opportunities. Some of these youngsters will master this game and be able to obtain athletic scholarships to some of the best colleges and universities in the country. The caliber of people they will meet playing this game will be a definite plus to their lives. I can’t tell you how many judges, lawyers, and business people I have meet through this game. It was stated in the book “RICH DAD POOR DAD” the importance of learning the game of golf, because 85 percent of all business deals on done on the golf course.
As I sit in the car, I see Tony, one of my students. “Hey, do you like this game?” He replies, “I love this game!” I say to myself that this is a good thing. I am thankful that I can be a part of this process. It is truly a joy to make this contribution to their lives.
Written by Danny Brookins, ENG 100 K1, Spring 2010