Good grief

I always show proper respect to parents and the way they treat their children on the range. It’s their children, but sometimes I am tempted to go off.

I have a client right now who is 15 years old and is among the top 50 in the world under 18. His dad is awesome. Isn’t pushy, respects I know what I am doing, so I try and return the respect by involving him in the discussion and ask his opinions. He is very knowledgable and I want all three of us to be on the same page.

What is painful is what I experienced today, I was giving a lesson to an adult and on either side of me, their was a mother-daughter and a father-son. I don’t think they were together. The father was offering some bad advice to the son, but it was completely inappropriate to step in. The mother was riding the daughter so hard, she cried at one point. These kids were about 12 and 14.

It got worse. I came back later to see a third set. A farther and son and it was painful. The kid was hooking his driver. He was coming too far from the inside with an open club to the path and hitting one flip hook after another,

The father kept yelling…yes yelling, things like…

“Hold the lag, hold the angle, hold of the release, hold the face open, don’t let the face close,”…etc.

“What is wrong with you?”..each time he hit a hook.

Guess what Mr. Stalin? You’re an idiot and you are making things worse both technically and emotionally.

This is very personal because my dad was an 18 handicap and would read the latest Golf Digest and bombard me with it and ruin my game. He read one month that the low side is the amateur side and the high side is the pro side on putts.

While I actually agree with the premise that a ball on the low side has lost it’s chance to go in, there are distinctions to be made.

He would literally and not jokingly ride me on every putt I missed on the low side. It could be a 20 foot downhill slider that would lip out on the low side and I would get a lecture. God forbid I would miss a 5 or 6 footer on the low side.

I got so sick of hearing “amateur side,” that at one point I was playing so much break on short putts, that I starting missing them in bunches.

The point is not for me to have a therapy session, the point is all you parents out there. Most of you don’t know nearly enough about golf to be coaching your kids…and more importantly, don’t take the fun out of it for them because you are trying to foster the next Tiger Woods. I am sure most parents have their kid’s best interest at heart, so let them have fun. That will foster better golf.

The soap box is smashed under the weight of this rant.




  1. Damon

    I’m a parent of 3. My 11 year old daughter likes hitting the ball on the range every now and then, and is actually a pretty good putter. I take her to a Saturday morning golf clinic when she doesn’t have softball, so that she continues to work on basic fundamentals. She is not very good, but shows a little bit of promise. What is great is she has an early start at golf, and is having fun.

    My other two kids are twin boys (one righty, one lefty) who just turned 8. They are very athletic, and have taken to golf (in addition to baseball, soccer, basketball, etc.). They each have very nice swings. Not perfect, but pretty darn good (I’ve taken some pics and their impact positions are 100% better than mine!). My instruction to them to date has been to have a good grip, always pick a target, and try to hit the small ball first. Each hits their driver about 150 yards with some roll, and they chip and putt better than many of my friends!

    A week back I took them out to a course with family tees set up as: Par 3 at 80 yards-ish, 4’s at 150’ish, and 5’s at 200’ish. They shot 41 and 43 putting everything out. Needless to say I was impressed! The next week I took out the lefty out on the course and he swung and missed with the driver on about every hole. I hadn’t seen him do that in a year. He was getting frustrated and not having fun. I tried to help him with his setup (he was aiming 30* to the left), but it didn’t work. Instead of pushing him, I figured it best to let him have fun “driving” the cart for the rest of the round.

    They are starting lessons with a teacher they are familiar and comfortable with. She is great with kids, and makes the lessons fun. My purpose of sending them to the lessons is so that they really get their fundamentals set (especially grip), and hear the messages from someone other than me. I hope this isn’t too early for lessons, but they seem to understand the training helps them hit the ball better, so they enjoy the time with the instructor.

    I am trying my best to not be one of those overbearing/helicopter parents. I can see how you can easily fall into the trap, especially when you have kid who is good at the game and you can’t understand why all of a sudden they aren’t performing as well as last week. But if it isn’t fun, then no matter how good they are they won’t play. So I keep this in mind every time I take them out to the range/clinic/course. I hope with this approach they continue to develop their games and develop a passion for golf.

  2. calvin

    Great rant. I believe there must be a coaching gene that exists in some individuals and that it surfaces in those cursed with it whether or not they are proficient at golf or whatever else the activity might be. I have watched it pop out of my son as he destroyed my grandson’s love of golf. Stepping in and trying reason and logic does not work to stop the coaching gene. Some sort of group intervention like they do with achoholics and addicts might work. Maybe you could create a 12 step program with clinics all over the country. 🙂

  3. Daniel Eason

    This isn’t just a golf disease its in most sports…football (or soccer) fields, baseball fields you name it. And this makes me laugh actually, I’ve experienced parent pain during my Bowling years, it worked during the good times but it just never worked during the bad times. Funnily though my dad actually coached players to a very high level in Europe so it was purely relationship wise but nevertheless.

    There are lots to think about here Monte…I would say that equipment those kids had wasn’t exactly cheap? How much did the parents fork out for a round of golf? Yes this is incorrect but this is one of the problems, they invest time and money and some parents want a return. Its sad but this is a big reason it happens.

    Why don’t you start some junior camps down at the course?

  4. Jimmy B

    Everyone is on point. And it doesn’t stop with sports. Academics / music / Dance etc.
    You really could do a whole DVD on how to teach a junior. Fundamentals etc and Etiquette.

  5. david carter

    Its like jerry jones of the DALLAS COWBOYS. He want to controll everything and dont know anything about football.Just hire the person and let them do their job.f

  6. Robert Johansson

    it make sense with condoms now and sterilization by force.
    Flashback to ww2 for a moment.

    I guess we have more to learn about kindness, humility, love, and stillness still as human beings.
    wish that dali lama played golf.

  7. blacksox

    Leave the kids alone. Most kids from the age a 10 to 15 are going to have a period where they grow rapidly. If you try and teach them like a pro at age 10 it is a complete waste of time. All they need is a basic idea of a grip and how to hit the ball.

  8. Jason

    My kid is 6 – he likes hitting balls – and is trying to learn….I have 3 requirements – that’s it.

    1) No happy feet
    2) Keep your hands together on the club (no split grip)
    3) Align your feet parallel to the target line

    The rest…I leave alone…for now…

    But I have seen parents like the ones you describe…and it kills me. Same thing at tee ball and basketball… I don’t get “those” parents.

  9. qtlaw88

    Thanks for the reminder Monte! My boy is 13 and is just now getting hooked. We play 9 just about every Sunday now and its very enjoyable. I do my best not to critique him every swing or shot or even every hole and only answer him when he asks something. Unfortunately, my father in law is very controlling and I am sure critiques every shot on Fridays. I try to stay out of that.


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