Should My Child Golfer Play in Tournaments?

YES! There is absolutely no reason not to participate in child tournaments; and the earlier the better. Tournaments are a lot of fun.

One thing I want to get out immediately is: at under eight years old, tournament results themselves mean virtually nothing in your life or your child golfer’s life. They don’t make a living at it, they don’t play for school, they don’t have a sponsorship or scholarship depending on their results, and in fact, these results won’t especially matter when they go for a college team. There is an interesting unilateralism here (is that a word?). If your child golfer happens to be awesome and always wins, that may have some cool value early, but not really. Maybe a newspaper article or something. That said, we have heard from high school coaches that a long history of tournament experience as a child is a plus, but results are only really relevant from about eleven onward. However, if your golfer happens not to be on the top right away, it really doesn’t matter at all.

From eight to eleven, kids start to care more and their independence and self start to surface. So, some of them start to focus on results more. This is okay because for those kids, the motivation to finish higher fuels their progress and desire to work at it a bit more.

What is much more valuable than any focus on winning is the experience you and child have together, their play experience, their effort, the lessons they learn, the rules they learn, the persistence, the friends, the socializing, the exercise, the identity building. The truth is, from our observations over the years, the parents are far more affected by the leader board than the child golfer.

You shouldn’t worry about finishing with a high score. Golf at this age is not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Start, continue, and she will improve. In fact a continuous improvement from last place with a 60 for nine holes up the leader board is far more rewarding than trying every event to finish on top, for the kid that does well off the bat. That pressure can actually back fire, and has to be managed by Daddy Caddy.

So, leave your own hopes, dreams, and expectations in the club house and get out there and caddy for your child golfer in his first tournament!

With all the above said, I would be remiss not to mention the fun and value of winning a trophy; that’s fun for us parents, no problem admitting that. But for your child, it’s a great sense of accomplishment. Hopefully your hard work will give your child that chance. Be patient and have faith that it will, but don’t make it the end all. Keep it fun and about the effort.
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