At the advice of his coach, we let Vikram out on his first kids competition today (10th Oct 2015) so that he can get a ‘handicap’. Having just turned 6 (or 16 in his mind), he was looking fwd to this all week. Woke up this morning with a “I dont want to go because I am nervous!!” Quick pep talk and he was out of the door in no time for a 8:45 tee off.. (where do kids get the energy on a weekend).
The club does kid comps every month for the under-10 kids in the academy. It is played over 9 holes on our Par 3 course. Everyone gets a ‘handicap’ and you can see how you progress. Anyways, my observations about what happened – (disclaimer: will have biases and assumptions)
- Kid golf is very stressful for the daddy caddy – esp if Daddy plays golf. Mummy’s are alright (esp if they dont play) because they are there to shepard the kid whereas Daddy is part-coach, part-crowd and part-player.
- Not all kids enjoy it and you can sense they are there for the parents. But kids they go thru the phases of loving it and loathing it… so cant judge on that.
- Kids learn from each other.. It was my son’s first outing, and he was watching the older kids and their parents speak. On the 7th, he was trying to say, ‘Get on the green’ to his ball and ‘thats bad luck’ to someone who missed the fairway!!!!.. So be careful of what you say at all times.
- The kids game is fairly reflective of the adult game. We had slow play in front of us (and a Dad in my group getting increasingly upset), all kit and no swing (kitted out in Galvins and nice clubs, but struggling), some counting errors (was that 6 or 7, lets say 6), mindgames (more from parents than kids), questionable rules interpretation (winter rules when not on fairway), inflated expectation of self (Me: Use a driver; Vikram: I can get there with a iron; then hits the driver and comes short)
- Prize giving can be heartbreaking. As it was our first outing, Vikram was not in contention – though he came fairly close to NTP. So when the prizes were given away, he nearly started crying. Life is tough son.. play better next time.
- Some kids are just natural… it is fab to watch them play
Overall a good outing and a great learning experience. It is a joy to watch the kids play and the happiness when they score. We had someone who chipped in from about 15y and he was over the moon. Vikram one putted on the last hole and nearly did a victory lap.
Vikram almost had a double bogie round. He shot a 47 over a par 27 course. So I think he will get a official handicap of about 40. He had one par and a couple of bogies and doubles with the rest exceed them. It was a very damp and a bit cold to start and I did not realise that he had a cut in his palm when he had fallen over at school on Friday.
I must say I was tempted to intervene more, but stayed away. I did have to give him a line on his putt and tee up the ball for him. As he plays more, there will be a tendency to become the helicopter dad from hell.
Having said all that, I must say he was on the green in 1 or 2 on the short holes or 3 for the long ones. His clubs are not suitable for him, because scrooge daddy got him clubs that are too long and he has to choke down on them (Daddy says he will grow into them soon). His putting let him down.. It has improved, he is now aiming for that 2 putt, but gets a 3 putt. Had one 1 putt but no 4 putts.. so can only get better from here…
I have never seen him so focussed/obsessed in a game. He was on a different planet for some reason. During his lessons I have to remind him to take practice swings or check he ball position. Today none of that, suddenly he was doing his practice swing, checking his line and some sharp chipping. After the first 4 holes, I thought one of the Dads would call him a bandit!!!
So for all his efforts the Pro to give him a ‘prize’ for shooting his first par in a competition. The sleeve of Titelist is now resting next to the picture of Rory in his room…I also had to endure that conversation of how he wants to play the Ryder cup when he grows up (inflated view of self)..
…. Being a kid is a great time to be.