Daddy NOT Caddy

Well Summer is here and the child golf opportunities abound.  In South Florida we have at least four kids golf tours available: US Kids Golf West Palm and Miami, Goldcoast Junior Golf Foundation, and our favorite, the Junior Golf Association of Broward County.  Don’t get me wrong, we love the child golf tours for all they do and all they are; some great players and the tour directors are the best.  However there is one difference about the JGA tour … NO CADDIES ALLOWED!

That’s right … no caddies.  That means I am reduced to a spectator.  Our child golfer is on his own.  This is our fourth year in the JGA.  This tour is a labor of love by its board, who are dedicated to a tradition the JGA brings to junior golfers in South Florida.  My hat goes off to them and their dedication.

The way this child golf tour is set up pins players of comparable skill level together, as opposed to using age to define the flights.  That means our ten year old golfer is playing against some boys who are fifteen years old.  There are stroke play tournaments on Mondays for seven weeks at different golf courses throughout Broward County.

All the new tour members start at an entry flight based on their skill level.  The “F” flight for boys is just three holes, so it’s a fantastic way for beginners to get their feet wet.  The winner and all second place ties (T2) advance to the next flight. As long as you are top two, you advance.

The best part about the JGA is the no-caddy policy, for any age.  What a great compliment to the golfing experience for your child golfer.  Your young golfer definitely needs you as her caddy, don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of learning to do and your help is essential.

However, if you can find a tournament where they are on their own, it’s a great experience for them.  It’s sort of like the difference between following someone somewhere or getting directions and driving yourself.  They’ll need to manage the course, club selection, distances, and themselves.  They really have to connect with their game. Very cool to watch.  In the JGA, there are volunteer markers to keep score for the lower flights.  However, in the boys C flight, they start keeping their own score.

It’s important that you help them be independent in your other tournaments with a caddy in order to prepare for the no-caddy events.  You don’t want to throw them in cold.  In fact as the years progress I have weened my son off of my help even in the caddy events.  He is ten now and quite a capable golfer on his own.  His biggest challenge is slowing down! … not uncommon at this age.

I hope you can find a no-caddy tournament at least once over the summer.  Note: in the JGA each player must have a volunteer sign up to help in two events in order to play in the three-day championship at the end of the tour.  Volunteering is very rewarding.  You may work the scoring table, or drive a water cart for a couple of hours, or shuttle player to the first tee and from the last green back in.  Lots of fun, mostly great people.

The JGA has an extra element of the sport, it awards scholarships to the “graduating” members in a nice awards presentation at the end of the championship.

Ask around at other child golf events in your area for events or tours like the JGA and I hope your child golfer has a chance to show you their skills, and you get to take of your Daddy Caddy hat!

2 thoughts on “Daddy NOT Caddy

  1. My 8yr old has been playing tourney golf since the fall (2 tours fall and spring, us kids). He played great as a 7yr old on his first tour but in the spring as an 8yr old and longer distances, he has struggled. And so have I. I’m not a golf guy and it is so difficult for me. Patience is key and I have little. Truly just want him to have fun, and he is but I fear my competitive nature hurts him at times. The area he plays in is super competitive, lots of good kids. He will be playing on a tour this summer in FL with no caddies, which both of us are looking forward to! Lol – any advice for a daddy caddy like me? I understand the game and how hard it is and I love being there with him, but how to deal with the myself?

    • Hi Mark:
      What a GREAT age. First … ENJOY IT! My son is a big muscular hairy 14 year old know it all now and I love him dearly, but really miss the 7 year old.

      Second … the only thing that you must make super number one priority is … it MUST be fun for both of you. Nothing else matters. The LAST thing you want to do is get to tightly wound about golf. There is SOOOOO much time in front of him and there is no way you can force the outcome that is, where he goes with golf. The late Hall of Famer Julius Boros said, “It’s only a game.” All you can do is provide and support, and be sure it is fun and you love him even if he sucks (that day).

      Remember, later, after the round, long after the course and the competitors and other dads and moms are no where in sight … you want to be able to be close after a great time together at golf. Again, regardless of outcome. I’ve seen this be the single most difficult thing to do for MANY parents. Me included. Accept this as your number one challenge. Make it fun, win or lose. And on the way home after a bad round, try your hardest NOT to talk about it. Have fun.

      Try to support his competitive nature, whatever amount he has, but don’t force it. We sound alike, though I like to play; I want him to excel. But you must resist forcing that issue. Just support and provide what he needs.

      It’s great that he will see competitive players, IF he is competitive, he will strive for more … support and provide. Laugh, have fun, teach him to laugh at a bad shot, or round, and recover quickly. Try “let’s flush that one down the toilet! [flushing sound]” Also, support him to recover quickly from a good shot … that can detour the next shot too!

      Regarding distance … until he is about 11 or 12, “don’t belittle the middle”. Go for a straight shot over a long one EVERY TIME. Lay up, in the middle! If you’re in the middle, there’s a club for that. In the woods, well, you’d rather be in the middle. Do all you can, lessons are great, to teach him to hit ’em straight, regardless of distance. The kids in the middle always score low. 20 yards more or less just really doesn’t matter. If he gets to 11 or 12 hitting ’em straight, his growth, strength and maturity will make him longer.

      Seriously, every time you caddy for him, make a commitment that the outcome for that tournament really doesn’t change life. But, frustration, anger, impatience, a bad day actually can have a lasting effect. Your goal is to have way more happy fun golf times than frustrated disappointed unhappy ones.

      BTW, I’ve seen the kids at the bottom of the leader board at 7, who always had fun, now at the top in middle school. And the ones at the top, disappeared. My son lettered in Varsity golf the past two years, and just shot a 93! Oh well, that’s golf.

      Support, provide, and have fun!

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