Future Masters — What a Golf Lesson!

Well we just drove back from Dothan, Alabama where our son played in the 10 and Under flight at the Future Masters Junior Golf Tournament. Nearly seven decades and going strong … this is one fine kids golf tournament. Angelia, Kevin, Dr. Thornton and all run just a superb event. It’s just wonderful to be privileged to have a child golfer who can play in such an event and to have met these wonderful golf-loving people. The likes of Bubba Watson, Trevor Immelman, and Stewart Cink have played in this golf tournament as juniors.

Wow, the putting greens are fast at the Dothan Country Club where the tournament is held every summer. Just a beautiful golf course too.  Perfect for a junior golf event like this.  I can tell you, having been there for two years, these are some talented young golfers.  I may be biased, but I especially love watching the 10 and Unders.  Make no mistake though, these kids work hard and they play good golf.

We learned a good lesson, again.  We keep learning this one too.  NEVER GIVE UP! Our son plays very well.  I dare say he has the potential to be one of the top child golfers his age in the country.  The mental game is the only thing stopping him, but that’s a big part of golf, even for kids.  We can’t get him to SLOOOOOWWWW DOOOWWWWWNNNN.  Everyone who watches him play says the same thing.

The first day of the Future Masters, the volunteer caddy told him, “You can really play son, but, you need to slow down!”  And, on the first day, it showed … he shot a 52! That included a birdie, and pars, but eights too.  Not good.  He had no routine.  Though the putting was pretty good, only two three-putts, his long game was gone.  He’d take one practice swing and hit the ball, and sped up as the round went by.  USGA gives you 40 seconds per shot, he was off in less than eight!

Well needless to say, that afternoon, we “weren’t ‘gonna play golf anymore, and we should withdraw.”  “You can play golf, but you’re not a golfer.”  “A golfer does a routine every golf shot.” “It may not work, and that’s golf, but he does a routine.”  “Maybe he’s more suited for a reaction sport like basketball or football, he loves those too.”

Well after a cooling down from the disappointment, we decided as a family that withdrawing is not an option.  We have to finish the tournament.  What a good decision.  We brainstormed together and came up with a solution.  The good news is, our son didn’t deny his need to slow down.  That’s good.  We decided he was going to count to 30 before every shot.  He knows he has 40 seconds for every shot.  Counting to 30 will leave him 10 seconds to take his golf shot.  The idea was to simply just make him stop and clear his head. And slow down.

My goodness, how proud we were to see him give it his best effort to count to 30 on every shot.  I’m here to tell you that he didn’t do it, but you can see he tried.  IT WORKED!  He played some great golf.  He birdied the first two holes and parred the rest except for a double and a bogey.  He carded a 38!  The third best score of the day.  What an effort. What an effort!

The tournament has a trophy for Most Improved in the 10 and Under flight.  This cup is a very special award presented to the player with the biggest improvement from the first day to the second.  Needless to say his 14 stroke improvement won it, and may have set a record.  What a wonderful surprise … his accomplishment was so nicely received and recognized.

What a golf lesson we learned, especially thanks to our child golfer and the Future Masters.  NEVER GIVE UP! It’s easy to say, but boy are we grateful we didn’t.  We would have missed one of the best experiences we ever had as a family, a golf family.  It would have been hard to go home, but it was also hard to pick up after a 52 and get back into the game.  Boy are we all glad we did.  Our son may have finally learned the value of slowing down, the counting helped, he could tell, and the day rewarded him, in ways we could not have anticipated.  Many thanks to the Future Masters staff.  I hope we qualify next year in the 11-12 flight!

Good job my boy.

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