I teach many junior golfers and have noticed a growing trend of parental over involvement in the young player’s career.  While I believe that parental support is important, I think there is a fine line between support and over involvement.

Golf is the game of a lifetime and it also teaches a lot about life.  I believe that for a junior golfer to become successful, he/she must learn to take responsibility for their golf game and not always rely on having someone to do things for them.

Here are some of the life lessons that I believe are important for a junior golfer to learn:

  1. Time management – The next level after high school would be college golf. I have a number of junior golfers that I teach whose goal is to get a college scholarship.  Learning how to manage their time between golf and studies in a high school environment is much safer than having to learn this when they are off on their own.
  2. Responsibility for their golf game – I have parents who watch lessons and have found that some juniors decide to take a back seat to understanding their golf swing because they know that mom or dad will always be able to tell them what they need to do if they forget. As a result, they don’t fully understand and commit to making changes because they never accept responsibility for their game.  They know that mom or dad will always be there to remind them of what to do.  This is fine for younger students but at some point, if a junior golfer doesn’t fully understand what they need to do for themselves, they will always be relying on someone else to carry them through life.
  3. Planning ahead – I have had times when I’ve asked my juniors when their next tournament will be. Most of the time, I get one of two responses.  First, they look to their parent to answer the question or second, if their parent is not there, they will say they don’t know when or where the next tournament is.  It is difficult to prepare for a tournament if you don’t know when you will be playing or what course you will be playing.  Lack of preparing effectively could ultimately result in poorer performance.  Learning to be prepared is an important life lesson for any individual in every situation.
  4. Managing expectations – Success in golf requires us to manage our expectations. In golf, as in life disappointments will come but keep this in mind.  Disappointment is the gap between our expectations and reality. Now reality is always there and we can’t really manage it.  We can just manage how we react to it.

Hank Johnson, PGA