I come from a golfing family...which is rather odd since its never been a particularly wealthy family. But for one reason or another golf has always been in our blood. My great uncle was an accomplished golfer, my Uncle is currently a pro, and my brother is a profession and he's playing in the PGA Buick Championship this weekend.
So the natural question for the family is which kid in the next generation is going to carry on thr tradition. ‘The Boy’ is the natural choice as he's really good at hitting stuff with a stick and for a young lad he's seems to be naturally athletic. With that in mind my parents bought him a set of junior clubs.
Two weeks ago I started giving him lessons. I took him outside, showed him the grip and stance and let him have at it. Frankly, he wasn't very good. Typically male, he was more interested in smashing the ball as hard as he could and didn't care where it went just as long as it went far. After a few minutes he grew totally disinterested and instead of hitting balls he went out into the field and asked my to hit the balls so he could try and catch them. ( They're whiffle golf balls )
The whole time this was going on, my daughter was standing to the side drawing with some sidewalk chalk. She's usually reluctant to try anything new and usually disinterested in sports so i was surprised when she asked, " Hey Dad, can I give that a try?". I gave her a club, showed her the grip and stance and gave only one piece of advice...." whatever you do going back or forward, the only thing that really matters is that you return back to this starting position when you hit the ball"
Instictively, she figured out that if she didn't move her wrists or elbow that it would be much easier to return back to the starting position...a lot easier than benting and twisting all that stuff. So straight armed and with a limited turn she started hitting the 7 iron out to the boy. As she gained confidence she started swinging with a little more vigor and I was impressed with what she was able to do for a first try.
I should note that women naturally make better golfers than men. If you randomly took 25 men and 25 women, gave them 3 months of golf lessons, and then held a tournament...a tournament where you had to keep score the right was and didn't cheat of have nonsense like 'mulligans' I'd put my money on the women every single time. Women are more patient, they're controlled, and they have a tendency to focus on being percise and staying in between the lines then they are about power and mashing and acting like knuckleheads. Men pretend that they dislike women golfers because they're poor golfers....actually they dislike women golfers because the remind men of how rediculous they really are.
The following week we had lesson number two and introduced the driver. Again, she did well and really enjoyed herself. But this time the boy was chasing butterflies and throwing rocks at rabbits so the two of us had a chance to spend some extra practice time.
Last Saturday I had an hour free and I asked her, " Do you want to go to the range and hit some real golfballs ?" We went over to the range and it was packed with hackers and college kids. When she saw the scene she said, " No Way !" As I may have mentioned before, she suffers from performance anxiety and there was no way that she was going to hit balls in front of all those grown men.
" Ok", I offered, " I'm going to hit some balls then. Just bring your clubs and watch." and I bought a bucket and we headed out.
After a while she built up her confidence and asked to try a few. I teed one up and she tentatively poked at it. A few balls later she forgot about her surrounding and started to tap them out there 20 or 30 yards and was enjoying herself.
" Ok, I'm going to show you something else." I instructed, " When you get to the point where you can't go back and further, I want to you turn your hips like this." and demonstrated.
She stiff armed it back, turned her hips, came down through in a steady and percise motion and CRACK...the ball flew about 40 yards with a nice arc. A huge smile gerw across her face.
After a while I took out the driver. " Now do the same thing...nice and steady...except this time after you've turned your hips...if you want to go a little bit further bend your right arm just a bit."
She thought about it for a little while and took a handful of practice swings timidly, checking back each time with me to see if she was doing it right. " Don't worry hon, you're doing fine, just try it...if it doesn't work go back to doing what you were doing."
Finally, she grabbed a ball...placed it on the tee and stood there for a nervous moment. Then she set up her grip...aligned her stance.....and with a furrowed, concentrated brow……made the most beautiful, slow, long, arcing motion I've ever seen. CRACK...pssssssstttttttttt...the ball sailed out to the 75 yard marker starting dead straight and having just the slight hint of a draw to get that little extra roll.
I stood there mouth agape.
She turned to me and said, " get another bucket."
I think we found the next generation and he's a girl.