It is often stated that the game of Golf is for a lifetime, one in which people can compete well into their golden years. Mentioned less often but no less true, it is also a game for children, holding many advantages and life lessons. Until quite recently, Golf was considered as an adult pastime, where children have been relegated to the sidelines as Dad and Mom went out for Golf.
Times have changed and today, amidst a host of activities that pull families apart, more families are discovering that togetherness is part of the joy of Golf.
Included in this formula are children and young adults who will enjoy both the thrill of the sport, along with some invaluable life lessons.
Golf is one of those sports that one can start early in life and any kid that grows up playing Golf always stands out of the crowd. Kids learn the basic fundamentals of life such as concentration, co-ordination, control, patience and perseverance at a very early stage and consequently they turn out to be much evolved individuals in the long run. Moreover, it is one of those activities that are not very strenuous for them; hence they do not tire easily and can continue playing for hours.
Benefits Of Golf To The Youth:
• Overall Fitness: Kids who play Golf develop general physical fitness in a way that's fun, and they establish lifelong habits for good health. This is particularly important at a time when obesity and drug abuse is becoming a major problem in Punjab.
• Stress relief: Golf allows kids to clear their minds of academic and social pressures, to literally run off the tension that's accumulated in their muscles. In the words of one person, "If you play really hard, you feel better because playing takes your mind off things that bother you, and afterwards you can concentrate better”.
• Development: The game gives kids an opportunity to develop their own talents: through personal effort they get good at something they're interested in. Doing something well makes them feel good about themselves, but equally important, it teaches them about the process of how to improve and work more effectively. The process of repetition teaches the Golfer how to master a move and also how to experiment with different approaches to improve a skill. The feedback in sports is usually immediate and visible so that the athlete can change or repeat what she's doing and figure out how to get better. Not only that, the whole process of seeing practice lead to improvement gives kids a feeling of control, a feeling all too rare in their lives.
• Healthy habits: Because Golf increases awareness of one's body and how it responds to different stimuli and circumstances, it helps to prevent drug and alcohol abuse. Most athletes value what their bodies can do and want to maintain those abilities. Being an athlete also gives kids an acceptable reason for telling their friends no to drugs, booze, and other high-risk, unhealthy behaviors.
• Valuing preparation: Golf helps kids learn to distinguish between effort and ability. It increases self-discipline and the awareness of the value of preparation because kids can see the difference in their performance.
Competitive athletes learn the importance of effort, being prepared (mentally and physically), and enlightened risk-taking. They see that raw physical talent is not always sufficient to win the game, but that preparation is essential. This includes mental preparation (staying focused) and physical fitness as well as practicing the plays continuously. They learn to evaluate risk versus reward. Another invaluable lesson is discovering that mistakes are part of learning; they signal that a particular approach is unsuccessful and you must try another.
Kids also learn to deal productively with criticism as part of improvement and preparation.
• Integrity & honesty – in these times where cricketers & footballers are seen to cheat openly even when these sports are controlled by umpires and referees , a golfers is taught to cal la fault oneself – very refreshing and of course this is why golf is seen a great place to invest ones company name.
• Perseverance & Resilience: Golf provides an unparalleled model for dealing with disappointment and misfortune. Young athletes learn to handle adversity, whether it's picking themselves up after losing a big game or not getting the right shots as they wanted. They find ways to deal with losing and go on, because there's another big game next week or next year. They figure out what to do to get what they want for themselves. They put in extra time on fitness or work on specific weaknesses in their game.
Golfers also learn to deal with the physical and psychological effects of injury. People can find their internal drive through training and hard work, but adversity really brings out the real patience and resilience in a Golfer.
• Attitude control: Older teens learn that a confident attitude improves their performance, and that they have some control over their attitude. They learn to disregard comparative stats in preparing for an opponent and instead to adopt "attitude enhancers" such as visualization exercises, individual rituals, singing specific songs etc.
• Identity: Being part of a group is inordinately important to kids, and Golf helps to make kids feel that they belong to an elite sports playing society. Golf also contributes to a teenager's sense of a stable identity with particular values.
• Time management: Young Golfers learn to manage their time productively. They know they have to get their homework done, so they learn not to waste time (some of them even quit watching television and hanging out at the mall). They plan ahead, so that big school projects don't catch them by surprise. They even figure out they have to eat well and get a good night's sleep.
• Long-term thinking: Golfers learn the fundamental lesson of sacrificing immediate gratification for long-term gain. This is the basis for personal success as well as for civilization in general, and no lesson can be more valuable.
• Correlation with other kids: Golfers develop playing relationships with their playing partners on the Golf course. As per a general study, for boys, sports are a primary, and unfortunately sometimes the sole, way of socializing with others. In many schools and communities, nonathletic males find it difficult to develop a social network at all. For girls, who according to the feminist theorist Carol Gilligan tend to define themselves through their relationships rather than their achievements, Golf offer yet another way to make friends and create an alternate peer group.