10 Tips for Parents of Competitive Golfers

10 Tips for Parents of Competitive Golfers

By: Randy Robb

Foreword by: Julie Freedman Smith and Gail Bell of Parenting Power

At Parenting Power, we believe that there is more than one right way to parent, and we create a solution for every family. You know the facts as well as we do. The relationship between youth sports performance and rising anxiety levels, along with the fact that 70% of kids drop out of sports at age 13 cannot be ignored. Something needs to change!

The research and recommendations about the roles of the coach, the parent and the athlete are very clear. Parents have an important role to play in supporting young athletes, but it often gets blurred with the coaching role. While kids are keen to hear from coaches about how they can learn from their mistakes and losses, when they hear it from parents the message can leave kids feeling pressured and unloved.

We can’t ignore the research. The one message we need parents to hear is that, when you are talking to your kids about their sports performance, what matters most is: when you do it and how you do it.  Our Parent-Athlete Agreement worksheet is created for parents and their kids to use together to clearly outline how parents can best support their athletes.

This is not something you do to your child, it is something you do with your child. Download our free worksheet at www.parentingpower.ca/paa. Take the time to get your agreement written down so that it becomes a working tool for everyone in the family. We know that parents love their kids and want the best for them. This is a way to support your athlete and clarify how your children’s athletic experiences fit into their life-long journey.

10 Tips for Parents of Competitive Golfers by Randy Robb

There are numerous online articles about high-performance athletes and tips associated with supporting them. Over the past 15 years I have had the opportunity to be involved with dozens of our best juniors and amateurs. There is no perfect method or textbook to follow when helping to guide your children through the journey of high-performance athletics. However, there are certainly some key areas that should be considered. Here are a few tips to help parents along the journey.

  1. Nutrition / Well-Being – As part of the integrated support team, taking the lead role in nutrition is key to maintaining daily energy levels and allowing for optimum learning and training.
  2. Promote academics – There are three areas college coaches look at when they recruit junior golfers… golf ability; character; and academics. Having good study habits and maintaining a solid GPA will open doors for a wider selection of post-secondary schools.
  3. Realistic expectations – Golf is a very individual game, both on the course and also how it relates to practice and training. Having a good understanding of tournament scoring average and the concept of competing against yourself will help keep expectations in check.
  4. Understand the competitive landscape – Try to gain a basic understanding of the pathway leading to the major junior tournaments. There are numerous junior events throughout the spring and summer and each has its place in player development. From early season junior tour events to provincial championships in July right through to national championships in August, there is a definite pathway of appropriate events to foster skill development.
  5. Eliminate on-course superstitions – Goals need to revolve around helping the junior become as self-sufficient as possible. This will help with their development. There should be no connection between player performance and who is at the course watching the round.
  6. Help teach your child how to deal with failure – Golf tournaments are very tough to win. There will be anywhere from 20 – 200 players competing in an event with only one player holding up the trophy at the end. Help keep the scoring expectations realistic and develop ways to deal with those tough rounds. Remember that half of the rounds will be below the scoring average and half will be above.
  7. Promote post round analysis – There are numerous systems that allow a player to input a round of golf and are designed to assist with analyzing what went well and what needs work. Helping to set up an account with one of these providers will go a long way with your child’s development.
  8. Stress process, not outcome – The amount of information out there is staggering when it comes to goal setting. A long term goal such as playing college golf or getting a spot at Nationals is motivating, but the key to developing and improving as a competitive golfer is to have a weekly/monthly training plan that focuses specifically on what your child needs to work on. Golf is a funny game. A player can be rolling along nicely sticking to their game plan, then have a couple shots go sideways on the 17th hole. As opposed to only looking at the 18 hole score, help with the concept of process and continuous improvement.
  9. Stay involved with team sports – Competitive golfers tend to spend countless hours practicing short game and full shots by themselves throughout the year. Tournament golf is playing against the entire field of competitors. As a parent of a competitive golfer, try to encourage participation in team sports for as long as possible. Hockey, soccer, volleyball, basketball, football, and lacrosse, to name a few will help with maintaining good fitness, developing that competitive mindset needed for golf, understanding teamwork concepts and accountability.
  10. Find a qualified coach – and then – allow them to coach – There are PGA professionals who are trained in all areas of competitive golf training. Whether it’s the pro at your golf club, a high performance coach, or a former tour player, find that junior leader who will help sort through all the many aspects of competing, while enjoying the journey at the same time.


10 Tips for Parents of Competitive Golfers

This article was originally published in the 2019 edition of The Alberta Golfer Magazine. To view the full magazine, click here.


Related Posts