…and not the “ladies” tees as some might.
Lately, Jack and I have been hitting the driving range and the putting green maybe three times each week, and as you might imagine, the little guy has been getting better and better. He has a very natural, long and smooth swing, and all he needs are a few lessons to get his grip and stance etc. squared away correctly to begin with. We’ve signed him up for lessons at The First Tee golf camp this summer, but there’s no holding him back at the moment.
He wants to go to the course every day after school, and needless to say he has been itching to get out onto the real golf course. Up until this evening, I’d been stressing the need to practice so that he would be ready when we did eventually tee off. While I love hitting balls and putting (and I think he does too), I could sense that he was beginning to wonder if we were ever going to play real golf. We’ve hit plenty of range balls, we’ve worked on our short game and putting, and we’ve even eaten in the clubhouse grill… I don’t think there’s anything he doesn’t like about hanging out at the course! So, understanding his desire to hit the links, I promised him that the next evening it wasn’t raining, I’d take him out to play. Here he is teeing off for the very first time… and yes, he hit an absolute rope down the fairway.
Every evening I take Oliver for a walk on the golf course right around when the sun goes down. Anyone who’s still playing on the course is usually somewhere on the back nine and certainly nowhere near the first six holes or so. We have the place all to ourselves, and Oliver has himself a grand time running and chasing the tennis ball. Even after the sun sets, there’s usually another 45 minutes or so before it gets really dark, and as I was wandering the empty course one evening, I realized that this would be the perfect time to bring Jack out to play golf. While he’s still learning, what better way to enjoy the course… with no-one in front of or behind us, we could take our time and not have to worry about how long we took to play, or how many shots we made. I asked in the pro shop if we could pay for nine holes each and split it over two visits, and they were more than happy for us to do that. Nine holes of golf would probably have been too much for him in one shot, so we set out to tackle holes 1 – 4 of the Kelly Nine.
I needn’t have worried at all about him making the transition from the range to the course. He hit the ball superbly, and totally understood the concept of keeping score in an honorable way. We talked about how he wasn’t competing against me, but rather against himself and the course, and how he would continue to get even better with more practice. We talked about being aware of certain aspects of etiquette such as not talking while someone was swinging, how to decide whose turn it was to hit, and why, if you swing and miss, it still counts. He was fastidious about replacing his divots, especially after I explained to him that those who replace their divots get favorable bounces of trees. He used all of the clubs in his bag at some point, and once he got up around the greens, he displayed a deft touch for someone who had never been on a golf course before. We both had a blast, and I can’t wait to hit the course again with my new golfing buddy.