I am a new parent and I often find myself thinking about treasures I would like to pass on to my son, I assume other new parents do the same. These treasures are not physical or monetary but more conceptual. Basically life lessons that range from teaching him how to chew his food, to dating advice, to helping him prepare for job interviews.
As I daydream about these future conversations I often find myself coming back to the game of golf. I have golfed my whole life; some of my favorite memories include golfing with my father, brothers, and my wife. Basically I love the game and will obviously try to pass that love on to my son. Recently though I asked myself why?
As I thought about this answer it became very clear to me that the game of golf is one of the best gifts a parent can pass onto a child or an investment a person can make in themselves. For starters the entire PGA tour is a great role model. They have no strikes, no lockouts, no trading away your favorite player, no free agency, and almost no scandals (thank you Tiger). Every tournament played has at least one charity tagged to it. From 1938 to 2009 the PGA Tour has donated more than $1.4 billion to charity. To put that into comparison with the country’s most popular sport, NFL Charities (their non-profit wing), started in 1973 and has given away around $120 million. The PGA has been helping people 35 years longer and has given away more than ten times the NFL, that’s pretty amazing.
Looking at it from a micro level, golf is a game that can be played your whole life. I started playing around 25 years ago and I plan on playing for hopefully another 50 years. You can play by yourself or grab some buddies for a foursome or enter in a tournament with as many people as you want. When is the last time you tried to get 22 people together for football or 18 together for softball, it’s not easy. Also golf is the absolute best way to get to know people. You will find out pretty quickly if your partner is a hot head, an introvert, selfish, courteous, or a cheater. Another great aspect of the game is the health benefit. On average a 190-pound golfer on a cart will burn over 1,200 calories in a four-hour round, more than 1,700 calories with a pull cart and 1,900 when they carry their clubs.
With all the positives there are a couple of barriers that people often cite; time and money. My answers to these are always the same. For the time concern, instead of playing 18 holes and taking four hours or more out of your day just play nine and take two hours out, or just go to the range. That can be done in under an hour and you still burn calories. For the money concerns, just don’t be a snob. You don’t have to belong to a private club or play at the most expensive public courses. There are plenty of nice facilities all over the St. Louis area. Here are some of them.
In closing there is a reason my father put a club into my hand as a youngster and it’s the same reason I am going to do the same for my son. Golf is a great game with numerous benefits; I just can’t wait to pass that along!
In case you want to get started now, here are some baby golf items to check out.
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