Friday, September 17, 2010

Youth Golf: Substitute Coach

The head coach of the golf team had a conflict and was not available to coach the match last Wednesday. He sent an email out to ask for volunteers, even though it was my birthday I answered the call.

My duties were simple. I made the pairings. I handed out score cards to the players. I walked the course between my first and second team to spot balls and answer any questions regarding the rules. I collected the cards at the end of the match. I then verified the individual scores on each card. I selected the four lowest scores from the six players on each team. I added up the four scores. I compared my results with the coach from the other team. We announced the medalist (the lowest individual score) and the winning team.

The only coaching I did was with the number two player on our team. He started off (+7) on the first four holes. He was uncharacteristically spraying the ball all over the place. On the fifth hole, he hit a monster hook into an area loaded with trees. He immediately looked away in disgust and did not see the ball rebound perfectly down the fairway. Head down, he walked into the woods to look for the ball. I caught up to him and showed him where his ball was. I told him good drive. He looked at me strangely and did not say a word. I said, "Listen to me it looks like a really good drive by a really good player. Sometimes you just need a break to get on a roll." I looked him in the eyes, "This is your break. You are a good player, run with it." He calmed down and finished 10 over.  His score was good enough to be in the top 4.

Game 126

Conversely, my son, Nic, started off just one over after the first 4 holes. On the fifth hole, he hit what looked like a great drive down the right hand side of the fairway. Unfortunately it clipped a tree limb and got knocked down. Instead of punching out into the fairway, my son tried to thread the needle. He again hit a tree. His third shot hit more trees and he ended up just short of a green-side bunker. Unfortunately for his fourth shot, he had have one foot in the bunker and one foot out. Despite the awkward position, he tried to flop the ball just over the lip of the trap to a pin nestled right beyond the bunker. His shot did not clear the lip and rolled back into the bunker. He ended up with an 8. I watched the debacle from afar while I was with the number two player. I could not get over to him to offer advice.

Nic was pissed. He wanted desperately shoot low on my birthday. He could not calm himself down and started to struggle. With each shot he became more upset. While he did not throw clubs, he did start taking full John Daly-esque practice swings even for short chips. I did not get on him because it was my birthday and I did not want that as a memory. He finished with an 11 over and his score did not count.

His team won the match 162 to 176.

Game 128

The next day. He struggled again. This time he could not contain himself and slammed his sandwedge into the rock hard ground (It has not rained here for weeks) and bent the club. It's lesson time now. He is without a club until he finds a way to get it fixed with his own money and problem solving skills.

The Main Point

No matter how good you are at golf, golf is a frustrating game. Every golfer, regardless of handicap high or low, wants to play great every round, hole, shot.

The best golfers contain their emotions 99% of the time. My son contains his emotions about 80% of the time. 80% is a huge improvement over the last couple of years. If he wants to excel at golf he will need to continue to improve on that.


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